Writing Drill Sergeant’s Post-Rejection Motivators

Inside my head and heart reside Writing Drill Sergeant and Writing Saboteur.
They don’t get along. Especially after a manuscript rejection.

Writing Saboteur: “Another rejection . . . This is hard.”

Sniffle.

Writing Drill Sergeant: “Waa. Waa. Waa. How many rejections have you collected? 200? 300?”

“No.”

“100?”

“No.”

“More than 50?”

“Well . . . no.”

“You’re pathetic.”

“Still . . . rejection sucks. Can’t I just greet people at Wal-Mart?”

“Get your wimpy, people-pleasing self back in the ring.”

“Don’t make me write today. I’d rather bury my face in a Dairy Queen supersized Capuccino Heath Butterfinger Blizzard and cry.”

“Get. In. The CHAIR!”

“Wait–I need to pee first.”

“Hurry up.”

“And eat just a little chocolate.”

“Don’t test me.”

“Can’t you say something encouraging?”

“Drill sergeants don’t encourage. They motivate. Here’s a list of quotes.”

“You made a list–for me?”

“Anything to get you to stop whining.”

WRITING DRILL SERGEANT’S POST-REJECTION MOTIVATORS

1. ROCKY

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone): “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.”

2. ROCKY II

Trainer Micky Goldmill (Burgess Meredith): “For a 45-minute fight, you got to train hard for 45,000 minutes.”

3. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks): “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard … is what makes it great.”

Or: Jimmy Dugan: “Are you crying? Are you crying? There’s no crying. There’s no crying in writing (baseball)!”

“I know you watch a lot of movies, but do you have any literary motivators–ones who use their inside voice?”

4. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Harper Lee)

Atticus Finch: “but sometimes we have to make the best of things, and the way we conduct ourselves when the chips are down…”

5. CHARLOTTE’S WEB (E.B. White)

While Wilbur waits for the spiders: “Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.”

6. WINNIE THE POOH (A. A. Milne)

Piglet: “Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?”
“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.

7. THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD (Watty Piper)

Little Engine: “I think I can. I think I can.”

“How about something more recent?”

8. THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING (Ashley Spires)

The bad feelings are about to start all over again. Then she (a regular girl) notices something surprising. There are some parts of the WRONG things that are really quite RIGHT. . . . By the time she reaches the end of the trail, she finally knows how to make the thing MAGNIFICENT. She gets to work.

“Writing Drill Sergeant, you’re really kind of a softie.”

“Shut up and type.”

IDEA CLONES

How many times have you written a story or thought of an idea, only to read or see something similar, somewhere else, a day, a month, or a year later?

I wonder what Dan Santat, creator of The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend and the creators of Big Hero Six thought when they first saw each other’s chubby white guy protagonists.

BEEKLEIIIBigHeroSix

Did they notice the physical similarities?
If so, did they say, “Oh, look! Great minds think alike! I’m so flattered!”? Or, did they say words you shouldn’t express in picture books or PG movies?

FeastIIdea clones haunt me.

I had just finished a manuscript about a dog who glories in the food of his master, loses all hope when his master changes his eating habits, and regains hope again when a meatball plops on his tail. Then I saw the short film The Feast.

My heart plopped like that meatball.ANNOYINGABC

I wrote an alphabet manuscript revealing the ABCs through children’s name. Then I read Annoying ABC by Barbara Bottner, an alphabet book revealing the ABCs through children’s names.

Annoying? Yes.

I wrote about an ostrich who wants to fly. FLIGHTSCHOOLThen I read Flight School by Lita Judge, about a penguin who has an ostrich friend who wants to fly.

Seriously?

I changed the character to a pig. Then I saw a television commercial with a flying pig and remembered Mo Willems’ Today I Will Fly.

Is nothing sacred?

So I changed the protagonist to a giraffe. FLYDUMBOFLYThen I saw Birds Can Fly and So Can I, by Noa Nimrodi.

Sigh . . .

How about a Mouse? Or better yet, an elephant, you say?

You’re killin’ me.

Idea clones aren’t new:

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.
Abraham Lincoln

Idea clones don’t haunt the pros.

SeenArtThe most successful artists don’t sweat over being original, they sweat over being authentic.

Look at Beekle. Dan Santat knows his creation is a totally different guy than Big Hero Six. He’s laughing all the way to DreamWorks Animation, with his Caldecott Medal.

ArtNMaxLook at Art. He’s the central character who makes for funny wordplay in Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s Seen Art?, David Wiseman’s Art and Max, and Kelly Light’s Louise Loves Art.

Everyone loves Art. No one cares that his name isn’t original.

 

LOUISELOVESARTReally, there’s not an original idea out there. If you can imagine it, someone else can and likely has. It’s like naming your child “Ava,” thinking you’ve thought of the most original name in the world.

Luckily, no one else is going to create an Ava or an Art just like your Ava or Art. So, in our own small way, we can be original in our authenticity.

Here’s to chubby white guys, Avas and Arts. We look forward to seeing more of you in the future.

Writer Mentorship Lessons #4-5

Have I mentioned how honored I am to be mentored by Trisha Speed Shaskan? Seriously, I have to pinch myself. She’s witty and entertaining, with funny snort-laughs that make your heart happy. She’s accessible and sincere. In her you’ll meet an advocate and friend. And she’s humble, not intimidating,  generously giving of her time to nurture the success of others. She’s all of this, despite her rock star accomplishments as a children’s author of over 40 books. What I’ve learned from her through observation in the past two months is how a true professional views and handles success.

Lesson #4: The formulas of success

Creativity given = success

Through Trisha I’m reminded how much our creativity is a gift to ourselves and others.Trisha is just as excited about the ideas in her head as the stories already published. She knows that each word is the beginning of something bigger and that success doesn’t begin or end at publication.  As long as you are able to create, whether you’ve written one paragraph or 40 books, no magic number should make you want to retire to a beach (unless you’re bringing your laptop or notepad).

 Creativity given = creativity >

A couple of weeks ago teacher Regina Santiago and the students in 1/2 B at Saint Paul Academy surprised Trisha with the ultimate compliment. They created a play, From the Mixed Up Files of Trisha Speed Shaskan, based on six of her picture books.

SERIOUSLY, CINDERELLA IS SO ANNOYING!HONESTLY, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD WAS ROTTENTRULY WE BOTH LOVED BEAUTY DEARLY 

IF YOU WERE A COMPOUND WORDIF YOU WERE A CONTRACTION61fFXCBYgnL__UX160_THEMIXEDUPFILES 

MiniTrisha

 

 

Trisha and her husband Stephen received VIP treatment during the performance, complete with programs. The actors proved they’d done their research. The mimi-Trisha narrator donned Trisha-style glasses, clothing, and hairstyle. She also incorporated Trisha’s mannerisms and words like “ridic” and “peeps.” Shaskan’s cat, Eartha, and  dog, Bea, even received “mini-me” representation.

TRULYWEBOTHLOVEDBEAUTYDEARLY

The good and bad fairies.

The young thespians created and performed stories . . .

The wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters.

sang songs . . . (masterminded by Stephanie Huss).

THEMIXEDUPFILES

Singing about Sleeping Beauty.

OnomatopeoiaMachineand shared the sounds of their onomatopoeia machine invention.

THEMIXEDUPFILESOFTRISHASPEEDSHASKANCast

The playwright, directors, and cast

Creativity given = giving >

I don’t think I’ll get over it. I’m floating! It’s just pure joy!  ~ Trisha Speed Shaskan, after viewing THE MIXED UP FILES OF TRISHA SPEED SHASKAN

Through Trisha I’m learning that creativity shared can reach far beyond the confines of a book or story. The ripple effect of imagination can reach beyond our wildest dreams.

Lesson #5 How to handle success:

  • With humor.
  • With sincerity.
  • With humility.
  • With delight and gratitude in the unexpected.
  • With open arms.
  • With more creativity.
  • Remembering every celebration is just the beginning.

Swinging a Cat

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Kate DiCamillo wanted a picture with me, so of course I said . . . Okay, you know that’s not true. I’ll admit, I stalked her.

Author acquaintance Cheryl Blackford said, “You can’t swing a cat in the Twin Cities without hitting a National Book Award winner, a McKnight fellowship winner, a Newbery winner, or a Minnesota Book Award finalist. We are so very fortunate to have such talent here.”

That certainly was the case while sitting among 900 other writers, illustrators, agents, editors, librarians, publishers, and book enthusiasts at the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala. Holy cow, it was literary celebrity Heaven. My only regret: that I didn’t take more pictures.

Finalists for the Award for Young People’s Literature:

  • Ambassador by William Alexander
  • Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Ban Dusen
  • The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

Winner:

  • West of the Moon by Margi Preus
Michael Hall's lovely wife, Debra Kelley, agreed to take our picture with Michael after the 2015 Minnesota Book Award's Gala, where IT'S AN ORANGE AARDVARK, was a finalist. Their gesture of hospitality was especially thoughtful, as they were off to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. Congratulations to Michael and Debra!

Congratulations to Michael Hall, finalist for the MN Book Award for Children’s Literature.    (Fellow reviewer and book award judge, Louise Aamodt, is pictured on the right)

Finalists for the Award for Children’s Literature:

  • It’s an Orange Aardvark! by Michael Hall
  • Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster by Mike Wohnoutka
  • Water Can Be by Laura Purdie, Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija

Winner:

  • Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

Congratulations to all Minnesota Book Award finalists and winners!

Writer Mentorship Lesson #2

2015Jan23MentorhipImages600

You could find children’s book author Trisha Speed Shaskan in a crowd. She’s the “cool glasses” girl. She also has great taste in meeting places and mentors.

My greatest lesson from my second MN SCBWI Writers Mentorship meeting with Trisha Speed Shaskan:

It takes a village to raise a writer. Find a good village.

I’m one of those people who needs leaders to hold the bar for me and make me believe that it’s within reach. We all learn better with a diverse group of people challenging, inspiring, and encouraging. That’s why I was relieved to know that my mentor, too, has mentors.

My mentor's mentor: Long time MFA teacher at Hamline University, Jane Resh Thomas.

My mentor’s mentor: Jane Resh Thomas.

When I shared with Trisha that I had enrolled in an writing program with Jane Resh Thomas, she  almost spit out her tea.  I didn’t know it, but Trisha trained under Thomas for four years. In fact, Trisha attended the very same class, the very same time, the very same night of the week. Trisha LOVES Jane. (And, I learned Jane LOVES Trisha.)

When an SCBWI friend mentioned that Jane Resh Thomas workshops were available, I had no intention of attending, thinking I was much too busy. I really had no clue what a big deal these workshops were.

Then one day I checked out my two-week children’s book stack from the library. When I got home, I thought I’d lost my marbles, because I’d selected a picture book that I’d just read. It was Jackie Urbanovic’s DUCK AT THE DOOR. But I read it again anyway. On the copyright page, Jackie wrote: “With Thanks to Jane Resh Thomas, who taught me to write, and to her writing group for so much laughter and support.”

YIKES! I dashed to my computer. Here’s what Hamline University has to say about Jane Resh Thomas:

Jane Resh Thomas, a recipient of the Kerlan Award for contributions to children’s literature, is the author of fifteen published and contracted books, including picture books, short fiction, middle-grade fiction, and biography. The Comeback Dog; Saying Good-Bye to Grandma; Courage at Indian Deep; and Behind the Mask: The Life of Queen Elizabeth I have won, among other honors, a Parent’s Choice Award; Notable Books and Best of the Best listing by the ALA; and a Minnesota Book Award. Her most recent books from Clarion are Blind Mountain, an adventure story, and The Counterfeit Princess, a historical novel.

I couldn’t email Ms. Thomas fast enough. She only had one opening available. I took it.

Before my first class, another friend emailed me a link to an article recognizing Minnesota children’s literature superstar Kate DiCamillo as STAR TRIBUNE’S Artist of the Year. Kate belonged to a writer’s group led by–wait for it–Jane Resh Thomas. That only sweetened the deal.

I’ll have tangible tips from Trisha in the February mentorship post. In the meantime, I hope you’ve found your cheerleading leaders. The reason Trisha is such a fabulous mentor (besides all the talent, personality, and humility, of course) is that she comes from a fabulous village and she’s a fabulous mentee.

Writer Mentorship Lesson #1

Thankful for my writer friends: Lou Aamodt, Kristi Herro, Alicia Scwab, Elise Parsley.

Thankful for my children’s critique friends: Lou Aamodt, Kristi Herro, Alicia Scwab, Elise Parsley. (See who else I’m thankful for on MY WRITING FRIENDS page.)

Recently, my wise writer/illustrator friend, Elise, marveled that we’re learning so much while reading, researching, writing, and reviewing with our writers groups; it’s like receiving a free graduate degree in children’s literature.

Her reflection sparked this meet-up mindset for me: This is more than friend-time. I’m part of a graduate program, learning from some of the best and the brightest. Don’t take one minute of this for granted.

2014-2015 SCBWI Writer Mentor Trisha Speed Shaskan has written over 40 books, including HONESTLY, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD WAS ROTTEN!; TRULY, WE BOTH LOVED BEAUTY DEARLY!; and her 2015 release, PUNK SKUNKS, co-created with her husband, Stephen Shaskan. I’m beyond grateful for this opportunity to learn from her and get to know her as a friend and fellow lover of children’s literature.

After friendship, the best part about writers groups is the knowledge we share. For me, it’s definitely a win-win, because my comrades are all smarter than me. We’re like one big, spongy, interconnected brain. So, of course I had my writing friends in mind when I was selected this October by the MN Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) Conference Committee for the 2014-2015 Writer Mentorship with children’s book author, Trisha Speed Shaskan. Woo hoo! I would finally have something juicy and substantial to bring to the table!

I’m honored that Ms. Speed Shaskan (Trisha) and the committee found promise in my work and are devoted to prodding me past mediocrity. To pay this kindness forward, I’ve asked Trisha if I could share her wisdom, not only with my writers group friends, but with anyone who visits this blog. She generously said “yes,” so, rather than recapping from memory, I’ll share the email I sent to my critique friends.

To: Critique Lovelies

Subject: Mentorship notes

Hello!

I met with Trisha last evening and came away with a treasure chest full of wisdom.

I inquired about diverse reactions we’ve received from reviewers pertaining to alliteration in picture books. (Who’s right, those for and against?) Trisha laughed, because she wrote a book called, IF YOU WERE ALLITERATION. For picture books, she loves it.

Concerning word choices in children’s books, she thought words like “clambered” and “musty” were perfectly acceptable—even more desirable than dumbed down words. She said to think of picture books like a poem or a song and to go with the rhythm and words that ring true to the story. Since picture books are usually read by adults to children, (unlike easy readers and early chapter books, where the words need to be carefully selected for young readers) she said, “By all means, go for elevated, beautiful, active language.”

And she loves onomatopoeia. In fact, in my story she suggested I add more onomatopoeia, such as a “shuffled” during the stampede scene.

Concerning critique format, the following is the one her group incorporated. They’ve tried others and like this best:

Summary:

What Works:

Questions:
Character
Setting/World Building
Physical Description
Refrain

Final Note:

The process is similar to ours, but more formal.

The “summary” helps determine whether the writer’s vision has been successfully communicated. A bonus: it’s a helpful tool later, when creating a pitch.

“What works” helps the writer determine what to keep.

“Questions” make the story stronger. For instance, Trisha asked some of the same questions you asked. That showed me what I need to clarify.

She said it’s important to know the rules of the world we’re creating and stay consistent.

And sometimes to be generous and just tell the reader information directly, rather than trying to be subtle.

To reduce words, she gave me two examples where I used repetitive emotions  (that the illustrator will certainly reinforce) and said that eliminating one in each phrase would be an effective way to condense:

  • Shuddering, she slumped over her tomatoes and stroked the empty peddler space on her sash.
  • The Grand Duchess stomped toward the tower. (One word can replace four.) “I’LL TOSS HER TO THE CROCODILES MYSELF!”

Her critique for my manuscript was a page and a half, single-spaced. She suggested starting with the above format, then she will follow-up with line-by-line reviews after the questions have been addressed.

I hope I’ve shared something that will help you as well.

Much thanks to Trisha for her thoughtfulness and generosity! Watch for more Speed Shaskan wisdom in future posts.

2014 MN SCBWI Conference Highlights II

KellyLightNPeepy

Kelly Light and Peepy

LisaPeepyMe600

Peepy with Lisa Yee and me.

StephenShaskanNPeepy

Stephen Shaskan and Peepy

Trisha Speed Shaskan and Peepy

Trisha Speed Shaskan and Peepy

The 2014 MN SCBWI Conference brimmed with colorful characters. In her keynote “Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Give Us Any Chance, We’ll Take It,” KellyLight, creator of the Louise Loves Art series and illustrator of Elvis and the Underdogs and The Quirks, invited participants on her Laverne and Shirley-inspired  journey toward children’s book superstardom, encouraging us to take chances and push forward.
“I hope my story shows other SCBWI members that believing in yourself, along with a little goofy use of absolutely anything that helps to keep you going . . . can get you down that road to publication . . . maybe a bit bumped around and nauseous . . . But well on your way to realizing your dream.”  

See more at kellylight.com.

CandiceGrace

Candice Keimig and Grace Hansen, ABDO Publishing

After an  ABDO Publishing  workshop by Candice Keimig, Art Director, and Grace Hansen, Editorial Marketing Coordinator, Lisa Yee, author of the Millicent Min and Bobby middle grade series presented her keynote, “From Slush Pile to Best-Seller: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”

The realism in Lisa Yee’s work stems from her inspirations, real live people. Yee’s son Benny inspired Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) and Bobby the Brave (Sometimes). Marley Sandelski first drew notice as a supporting character in Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time. But, when he became an inadvertent stop-bullying ambassador for real kids, Marley earned his own book as the protagonist in Warp Speed. The Kidney Hypothetical–How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days came about when Yee’s daughter took a dangerous dare. Learn more about Lisa Yee, the 2014 Sid Fleischman Humor Award-winning author, at lisayee.com

2014 MN SCBWI Conference Intensives

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SCBWI Friend Shannon Berg

CharactersBruceNQ

Bruce Hale and Quinette Cook, SCBWI Regional Advisor

Sunday intensives by Bruce Hale, Carter Hasegawa, Lisa Yee, and Kelly Light proved to be a bittersweet opportunity–like being told you can only have one Lays Potato Chip.

I’d registered for Bruce Hale’s intensive, “Funny Business: The 7 1/2 Secrets of Writing Humor.”

Then I waffled, thinking, “Really, isn’t a sense of humor a natural gift either you have or you don’t? Maybe I made a mistake.”

Turns out I could have used another hour/week/year of Hale’s instruction. Funny can be dissected and analyzed.

Three Funny Business Don’ts:

  • Don’t use topical humor
  • Don’t try to get too cutesy.
  • Don’t telegraph your jokes

Three Funny Business Do’s:HumorComesFromCharacter600

  • Do respect your audience.
  • Do give them the humor they like.
  • Do let them finish the punchline.
  • Do work in threes. (Oops.)

For more writing tips, see BruceHaleWritingTips.com.IfWeAreNotFunny

Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.
~ Mark Twain

My conference highlight was being selected for the 2014-2015 Writer Mentorship. Mentor  Trisha Speed Shaskan, I won't take this blessing lightly. (No pun intended, Kelly Light.) Congratulations, Illustrator Mentorship winner Joanna Ward! You'll love working with Illustrator Mentor Nina Crittenden.

My conference highlight was being selected for the 2014-2015 Writer Mentorship.  Mentor Trisha Speed Shaskan, I won’t take this blessing lightly. (No pun intended, Kelly Light.) Congratulations, Illustrator Mentorship winner Joanna Hunt! You’ll love working with Illustrator Mentor Nina Crittenden.

 

 

 

2014-2015 MN SCBWI Conference Highlights I

2014-2015MNSCBWIConference

L to R: Jessica Freeburg, Celia Waldock, Quinette Freeburg, and Alicia Schwab

L to R: Jessica Freeburg, Celia Waldock, Quinette Cook, and Alicia Schwab

Thanks to the leadership and volunteers of the Minnesota Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators (SCBWI) for coordinating a fabulous 2014-2015 conference.
Event organizers usually hear more from participants about technology glitches and rest room malfunctions than when the life-bettering experiences they orchestrate. I hope that wasn’t the case this October.

Jessica and Quinette pictured with SCBWI member, Cynthia Weishapple

Jessica and Quinette pictured with SCBWI member, Cynthia Weishapple

These are the unsung leaders:

  • Quinette Cook – Regional Advisor
  • Jessica Freeburg – Assistant Regional Advisor
  • Alicia Schwab – Regional Illustrator Coordinator
  • Nina Crittendon – Registration Coordinator
  • Celia Waldock – Mentorship Coordinator
Alicia, Nina, and conference volunteer and MN SCBWI Banner Contest winner Sara Weingartner

Alicia, Nina, and conference volunteer and MN SCBWI Banner Contest winner Sara Weingartner

I don’t think any toilets overflowed, but our cups sure did, with professional guidance,  reinvigorated vision, and fellowship with other writers and illustrators.

Saturday, October 11, keynotes, workshops, and manuscript reviews were topped off by book signings, a reception, and a portfolio showcase.

BruceHale

Bruce Hale

Bruce Hale, author of over 30 books for young readers, including the award-winning Chet Gecko Mysteries, School for S.P.I.E.S, and the Clark the Shark picture books, led the charge with Writer’s Mind, Warrior’s Mind: Winning the War of Art.

Hale instructed us with humor and inspiration, quoting the likes of  E. L. Doctorow: “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” And Steven Pressfield: “Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. This second, we can sit down and do our work.”

Bruce Hale’s checklist for victory:

  1. Start good habits.
  2. Write like your hair is on fire.
  3. Think it through, take the big view.
  4. Teamwork makes the dream work.
  5. Face the iron tiger.
  6. Beat resistance with persistence.

See more at BruceHaleWritingTips.com

Carter Hasegawa

Carter Hasegawa

EmilyClement

Emily Clement

Saturday workshops included Carter Hasegawa, Assistant Editor, Candlewick Press, presenting Researching the Fantastic; and Emily Clement, Associate Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books presenting Love at First Sight: The Great First Page.

EmilyMark

MN SCBWI Conference Volunteer, Mark Ceilley, introducing Emily Clement

Since the workshops occurred simultaneously, I only have notes on Emily Clement’s workshop.

When Clement  receives a manuscript she asks herself these questions: Does it evoke emotion? Does it have that little something extra? Does it make her feel something? Does it exude authority and confidence, a language and style that intrigues, and expectations, hints, or promises?

Some of her examples of great first pages:

  • Lisa Yee’s Millicent Min, Girl Genius
  • Bobbie Pyron’s Lucky Strike
  • Kate Milford’s Greenglass House
  • Nikki Loftin’s Nightingale Nest

Look for more conference highlights about Lisa Yee, Kelly Light, and ABDO Publishing in upcoming posts. In the meantime, check out my 2014 MN SCBWI Conference Photo Album where you’ll see the photos from this story and more.

Ann Page, me, Bruce Hale, and Louise Aamodt

Ann Page, me, Bruce Hale, and Louise Aamodt

B J Brilliant

Someone once said “A picture book without pictures is like the Pips without Gladys Knight.”

BJ Novak proved this wrong.

2014 MN SCBWI Annual Conference

Writing well involves community. A fabulous opportunity awaits you in just two-and-a-half weeks. The 2014 Minnesota Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators will hold their annual conference.

2014_ConferenceTearOffPosterforWebThe first perk of the conference will be the wisdom you’ll gain; the second, the relationships you’ll develop.

If you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late. We can’t wait to see you there!

https://minnesota.scbwi.org/…/2014-mn-scbwi-conference…/