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Posts Tagged ‘Writers Resources’

Learning by internet is so fun! Not only do you get to come as you are but you can do whatever else too. I have taken college courses online and now I attended a webinar online. It was hosted by Writers Digest and featured agent Jennifer Laughran. She gave great advice about what is hot now in Middle Grade children’s books. Lots of facts about what is selling and what is not. Also we were told what to expect from agents in general to query letters.
I have lots of new websites to check out like Queryshark and Preditors & Editors.
Jennifer Laughran also will be giving those that attended a critique on the first 500 words of their middle grade manuscripts. That’s exciting!
Now I am off to a library to check out some middle grade books like “When You Reach Me” and “Penderwicks”.

Cover of "When You Reach Me"

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I present to you, Olan Rogers

I present to you, Olan Rogers (Photo credit: ryan.nagelmann)

How to Know You’re a Writer (In GIF Form) | Nathan Bransford, Author.

You know when someone is pretty darn awesome when they also think that Olan Rogers is hilarious.  I just loved this blog post by Nathan.  He made me laugh and wonder how the heck did he know the websites I visit all the time.  So funny and true!

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The  Missouri region Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators just announced that the winner of the Fall 2013 writing contest is……Jessica Wilson (me)!  The prompt given was “Follow Your Dreams” and the required word count was 500 words.  I entered my fictional work after editing and revising.  Later on I received a call from the regional advisor and she told me that I had won.  The prize is a free registration to the fall conference that SCBWI in Missouri holds every year.  My choice of break-out sessions.  Along with this I will be submitting work to be critiqued by Executive Editor Krista Marino from Delacorte Press.  Very exciting!

Last month I had the privilege to speak with Editor Emma Dryden by phone for a consultation.  She gave sound advice about sticking to one genre and writing about what matters to me.  Ms. Dryden told me that the important thing was too keep writing new material so that if an agent asks what else I have written that I could show my other works.  If not I would be stuck way down the road with old manuscripts and no prospects.  Emma Dryden is on the advising board of SCBWI and is a freelance editor at http://drydenbks.com .  She was at a conference at St. Charles last year and is where I first met her.

It was great to receive recognition for my writing.  Here is the winning piece:

 

THE CHOICE”
by

Jessica Wilson

Today is the day.  No more will I have another chance.  Spring has come at last and with it an open door and window.  The sky and trees looked so inviting through the glass.  As the air wafts through the house I smell the sweet scent of lilacs blossoming.  The trees have tender green shoots on their limbs adding more color to the pale blue sky.   Clouds drift by slowly on the sweetened air.  Mother Nature is putting on an inviting show just for me, tempting me with visions I only dream about, seducing me with smells I hardly ever detected before.  I watch with nervous tension as the people come in and out of the house.  They carry brown paper bags and other containers.  Cleaning and sweeping making their tiny nest ready for the new season.  One proceeds to the flower garden and selects a few tulips to place in a vase on a table.  I watch, breathing in the intoxicating smell of the newly cut flowers.  I take a drink to calm my nerves.  The cool water does nothing but sit at the bottom of my quivering stomach. 

The lady of the house pulls the rug out of the room and moves some of the furniture.  She does not even come near me.  They both know I am here.  They just choose to ignore me at times.  I do not mind and even welcome the solitude.  But I also grow lonely.  I need companionship.  I need someone to talk to.  The people do not allow me to sing when I feel a song bubbling up inside of me.  The song I sing is an old tune I heard over and over again when I first became aware of sounds.  The people like to hear the deadening silence in the middle of the day.  The silence feels as if I am wrapped tightly with thorns.   Days have gone by like this and I become tired of eating and drinking.  The food is just sustenance to keep my torture prolonged.   I have glimpsed the outside world before when I have had a bad day and they put me near the window to let the sunshine brighten me, like an awakening flower my head slowly rose from it’s resting place to peek out at the light.

As the people proceed with their cleaning I know my time will come when they will focus on me.  They will need to care for me and I must be brave.  She approaches me and gathers my dishes leaving the door open.  Here is my opportunity.  My shaking legs spasm as I hop down after she leaves.  They do not suspect what I am doing.  Before they know it I am flying above their heads and out the window.  I have escaped my prison and ventured out into the world.  I have followed the bright temptress and made my dreams a reality.  My wings expand as I soar into the boundless blue full of possibilities.

 

Garden flower

 

Thanks to Emma Dryden and Prof. Henderson in believing in me.

 

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Cover of "The Awakening: And Other Storie...

Cover via Amazon

Nathan Bransford, Author.

I agree with this article but there is a big misconception about authors.  There are good authors who are not recognized because their work is not mainstream popular reading.  The decisions to read and study certain literature in a canon is determined, in my opinion, by political and cultural preferences.  Whatever is popular now is what people want to read about.  There were books held back from the public (like Kate Chopin‘s The Awakening) because of people in power found their work offensive.  Literature is a fickle thing.  I don’t know a lot of people that can actually agree about what should be studied in college literature classes or read as entertainment.  As a society we are like a leaf apt to go where the wind blows us.

The new writers and authors are flooding the market with self-published books and e-books.  There are all kinds of writers.    Sure we don’t have a lot of Mark Twains or Edgar Allen Poes’ anymore.  But shouldn’t we find some that are still worthy to quote?  Obviously the Noble Prize in Literature is still finding candidates to hand out the award to.  Even the Newberry Award is given out every year.  So there is still some talent out there.

Mark Twain statue

Mark Twain statue (Photo credit: stevebkennedy)

People will read what they want to read.  As writers we just need to write what we feel.  Whether it will make it into a canon or not is up to those who select it.

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At the last writer’s conference I had received some feedback on a manuscript from an editor from HarperCollins.  She gave me more than a page of great insight to help me write the best picture book out there.  As I sat in the conference reading her notes the lady next to me said, “Did you get any critiques back?”  I answered ‘yes’.  She then wanted to know if the critique I received was nice also.  So I let her read mine and she said, “This is really good.”  We talked about where we were in our careers and where we wanted to be in the future.  I found that I could talk to her like a comrade in arms.  We both loved the conference and felt it was empowering and had a lot of great information.

When I went to my critque group the others in the group read the critique and there were words said like “this is golden” and “oh my gosh” and so on.  I knew that the critique was good but I thought everyone at the conference was just being nice.  But now I know that these words of encouragement from the editor were more than just words.

So I took the advice of the editor and tweaked just a few parts in the picture book manuscript.  Now it is so polished it could be the sword “Sting”.  I just knew that I could send it somewhere and get it published.

Well I sent it to HarperCollins and recieved a very useful rejection letter from an editor there.  It hurt a little more than the form or generic rejections I have received in the past.  But I see now that everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Instead of getting upset I have deceided to put all my energy into finding the right avenue to have my picture book published.  Whether that be traditional or independent.

The world is changing and we are not seperated by countries or bodies of water.  Technology has made the world we “live in a planetary civilization”.  (p. 459, Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder)  Becoming published is easier than it has ever been before and the time is right for anyone to get their work out there.  People all over the world can buy e-books a lot easier than print.

So I am taking my writing to the next phase, and like someone told me recently to “just publish it.”  So keep an eye out for a children’s book with my name on it.

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Tell me what you think of the publishing industry?

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In today’s technological advances there are still some who are not so tech savvy.  This is including me.  I am still trying to figure out why we need to “connect” to other people through a computer.  How are we even “connecting” if you don’t see the other person or even hear them?  How do we even know if the other person emailing, blogging, or updating stats on their Facebook is even the person we are friends with?  Maybe I have read too many conspiracy theory novels.  But wouldn’t it be better to make contact with people in person?  Who am I though to judge how others want to “connect”?  I am just a little backwards, old-fashioned and love seeing faces when I talk to someone.  I like to see reactions and expressions flit across a face letting me know what they truly think.  Instead of cute little smiley faces or now the ever popular heart. ❤  I had to ask my son one day what was up with the sign.  He, of course, laughed (for quiet a long time too) before telling me it is supposed to be a heart.  Wow!  Talk about some imaginative minds out there.  So here I am trying to connect with blogging to get the word out about my work.

I have several novels written.  Along with some picture books in draft phase.  I have been working towards becoming published the traditional way for more than four years.  I have a nice collection of rejection letters from agents and publishers.  If I had to brag about my work so far I don’t think I would want to.  I could say that I have two articles published on eHow but most people in the writing world frown upon the website.  I had some fellow classmates say once, “The people who write for eHow are idiots”.  I didn’t dare tell them to count me as one of those “idiots”. Now I just concentrate on my craft and finishing school.  I still have hope one day I will be published.

So in the end becoming viral is not a bad thing, but helpful for finding the right agent, and for that agent to see I am trying to help promote myself as an author.  You can find me on Pinterest and Tumblr.   Google someone today! ( :

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