Saturday, August 17, 2013

2013 Laredo Book Festival

I just returned from the Laredo Book Festival held on August 16. There were seven Texas authors participating on an author’s panel. We met with local librarians and talked about our writing process and our books, from picture books, to middle grade, to young adult titles.  After the morning session, we had a wonderful lunch with the library staff. Then the book festival opened its doors to the public. Dozens of children and parents strolled through the library and the book festival got underway. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place with Laredo’s mayor taking part.  
Author Panel
I did a reading of one of my books to an enthusiastic crowd of children. It was great fun meeting the people who came up to our tables to talk about school and books. I was so impressed with everything the library has to offer and its beautiful d├ęcor. It was a delight being there. This was the second time I’ve been invited to their book festival! Don’t you just love those types of events?

And if you write poetry for children, here's something you might be interested in: the Children's Writer Seasonal Poetry Writing Contest.
Some of the librarians with authors

“Never try to chase trends. Write what you love, and write the best book you can, and worry about publication later.” – Writing Tip from Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The First Chapter

I’ve been going over my notes from the SCBWI-LA conference. So much to digest after days of intense sessions. Covered during these sessions: visual imagery, dialect, voice, characterization, mystery, drama, external/internal dialogue, interior growth, and so much more. 
San Francisco Wharf
“The first chapter is the hardest part of the book,” one of the instructors said. I totally agree with that. In that first chapter, you, the writer, are making a promise to the reader that you will take him/her on a journey with you. You must deliver on that promise with the rest of the book. You must invite, entice, and encourage the reader to stay with you, is what the instructor said. So remember that. Chapter one carries more weight. It almost exists as its own.
Enjoy the writing journey. Have fun! And this is just for more fun. Here’s a link to create a “heart” bookmark.

“I want to write a book that will be read from beginning to end with a mounting sense of anticipation and discovery—read willingly, with a feeling of genuine pleasure.” – Russell Freedman

Friday, August 9, 2013

More on SCBWI-LA Conference - 2013

For more detailed information about the keynote speakers and their comments plus tons of great pictures taken at the SCBWI-LA conference, link to this site on Publishers Weekly

A couple of comments from an author whose workshop I attended:

Look at the size of those books!! LAX Airport

The first chapter is its own beautiful entity.

For the rest of the novel: am I staying on the journey?

In the end, everything has to come together.

Show through human action.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

42nd Annual Summer SCBWI Conference - 2013

Awesome! That is all I can say about the 42nd Annual Summer SCBWI conference, which was held in Los Angeles. How can it get any better, I say? But it does. The keynote speakers were outstanding. Some breakout sessions had standing-room only. The intensive workshops for both writers and illustrators did not disappoint. Not to mention the illustrator’s portfolios on Portfolio Night. These artists are sooooo talented!! There were 1266 people in attendance representing 46 states. Some came from as far away as Japan, Egypt, Chile, India, Peru, and many other countries.    

Author with Laurie Halse Anderson
Some comments from the keynote speakers: 

A writer has the gift of magic. 

Magic is when we submerge ourselves in different cultures.

Magic is art.

Celebrate the color of life.

Find your angel. Find your muse.

Author with Andrea Pinkney

Nothing makes sense, but books do.

Write a killer first page.

Write books with new rules.

If there is a weakness in your manuscript, make it a strength.

Feel the heartbeat of your character.

Preserve wonder.
SCBWI Bookstore
Black & White Ball (Penguins)

            For lots more, go to the SCBWI blog. Plus above are some of my own pictures. Enjoy.