Monday, August 27, 2012

Writing Scenes

Do you have trouble writing scenes in your story? Writers are always told that scenes should propel the story forward. Just how does a writer know if that’s really happening? In an interview on the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL) blog, author Chris Eboch goes into comprehensive detail on the topic of scenes.
In her interview, “Scenes and Chapters,” Eboch mentions that scenes are “…an important thing to keep in mind -- a summary of events is not a scene. Scenes are written out in detail, shown, not told, so we see, hear, and feel the action. They often have dialog, thoughts and feelings, and sensory description, as well as action.”
In her discussion with Jan Fields, web editor of the ICL web site, Eboch further elaborates on just how to write a scene, what to include, and how to end it. This is an excellent read that any writer will appreciate. See for yourself.

Grapes in California Vineyard

“Refrain from editorializing in descriptions of your work. An agent or editor shouldn’t have to be told your story is thrilling or heartbreaking; your description should show or reflect these qualities.” – Writing tip from Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

Friday, August 24, 2012

Diversity in Children's Books

“Every librarian is looking for multicultural books all of the time,” Wisconsin librarian Dahl said. “By and large you see children choosing books that reflect themselves. We need more.”

 This quote was posted by Matthew DeFour on the Wisconsin State Journal blog. You might find DeFour’s article, “Books fail to accurately represent our increasingly diverse world,” about diversity in books or the lack thereof very interesting.  

While at the SCBWI-LA conference, I attended an outstanding writing session by Deborah Halverson, author of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies. She’s also the founder of blog. She’s offering a free edit of a manuscript. Deadline for entering is August 28, 2012. So hurry!
"Professionalism is an attitude. For a writer, this means professional presentation of queries and manuscripts, a thorough study of the market, and the ability to deliver assigned work on time." -- Writer's Digest Weekly Planner

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Laredo Book Festival

Just returned from the Laredo Book Festival where several local and out-of-town authors celebrated “The Best of Texas and Beyond.” As authors, we did readings and served on different panels throughout the day.  
I served on an afternoon panel plus I did a morning reading of my latest book, Alicia’s Fruity Drinks. It was great meeting some of the local authors. I got to meet the 2012 Texas Poet Laureate, Jan Seale, and I eagerly bought one of her books of poetry, The Wonder Is, which she graciously autographed for me. She lives in the Rio Grande Valley.

The librarians at the Laredo Public Library where the event was held, did an outstanding job of coordinating a full day’s worth of book activities. The public was invited and it was a pleasure interacting with the locals, both grownups and children, on the subject of books.

I hadn’t been to Laredo, Texas, since I was a child. When I saw the St. Augustine Church in the small plaza across from the hotel, it brought back memories of when my abuela used to take me to Sunday Mass there whenever I visited. The church is as majestic as ever. It was a nostalgic trip for me as well as a writer’s event.

While in Laredo, I met a bear. Yep! I kid you not! Here’s the pic. Is the bear real or not? You be the judge!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2012 SCBWI-LA Conference

Absolutely amazing is all I can say. I just returned from the SCBWI-LA conference (after taking a side trip to visit family for another week in California) and am now getting ready to digest and decipher my notes from the Los Angeles conference. I attended a workshop conducted by the famous author, Newbery Medalist, Linda Sue Park, of A Single Shard. She did not disappoint. The session was intense and covered so much that I found myself whipping out notes as fast as I could. Her class was a combination of writing exercises and lecture all intended to make our work-in-progress shine. She provided excellent writing tips on scenes, pacing, internal and external quests, layering, endings, and revisions, revisions, revisions.   

Author and Patricia MacLachlan
Author and Karen Cushman
Author and Linda Sue Park

 A great treat for me was the Autograph Party on Sunday night. Newbery Medalists, Linda Sue Park, Karen Cushman (The Midwife’s Apprentice, 1996), and Patricia MacLachlan (Sarah, Plain and Tall, 1986) signed copies of my books. Imagine that! It was thrilling!

Autograph Party
These are some of the pictures I took at the conference. Not only was the event productive, but I enjoyed the camaraderie of other writers and illustrators and the inspiring speeches by the wonderful keynote speakers. I highly recommend attending the annual conference if you can. Happy writing!

Conference Session

If a man is keeping an idea to himself, and that idea is taken by stealth or trickery-I say it is stealing. But once a man has revealed his idea to others, it is no longer his alone. It belongs to the world.”  -- Linda Sue Park from A Single Shard