Nick Bruel, author and illustrator of the Bad Kitty picture book series, advised SCBWI-Westchester attendees to be curious, compassionate, and brave at his Nov. 4th workshop, “The Three Things Necessary to Write a Story.” He treated participants to a Saturday afternoon of creating their own characters, cartoons, and stories as he brought out everyone’s creative self.
Author and illustrator Jessie Hartland, the October speaker in the Metro NY Professional Lecture Series, often writes about icons: Steve Jobs: A Graphic Biography and Bon Appétít: The Delicious Life of Julia Child are two of her recent titles. Her bright, playful illustrations have a following that transcends the normal age bracket for picture books. What people don’t see is the months, sometimes years, of research Hartland pours into each book.
Kendra Levin, Executive Editor at Viking Children’s Books, author of The Hero Is You, and the September speaker in the SCBWI-Metro NY Professional lecture series, shared how writers can use the hero’s journey model to create a “holistic, healthy, creative writing process.” Many writers struggle with process and experience dark moments where they wonder, “Why am I writing this?” Levin said. “Writers need to find ways to work organically and be their best selves.” (more…)
SCBWI Metro’s On-the-Road series returned to the First Baptist Church of White Plains, NY on Saturday, May 13, for a positive and informative First Pages workshop. Saba Sulaiman, literary agent at Talcott Notch Literary, and Kate Prosswimmer, associate editor at Sourcebooks, teamed up to critique a dozen or so first pages, ranging from picture books to YA, chosen at random from audience members’ submissions. Saba and Kate were lucky—all the first pages were really strong. Yet they still had helpful feedback and advice to share.
Award-winning author/illustrator Joyce Wan shared her insights about board books and picture books at the May Professional Lecture. Her books originally began with designs from her first career as a greeting card artist.
You’ve completed a draft of your book and want professional help with taking it to the next level. Plenty of freelance editors provide this service, but how do you know who is right for you? Sangeeta Mehta and Maya Rock presented a concise overview of the “freelance editing ecosystem” on June 14 for the last Tuesday Professional Series before Summer break.
It feels a bit like a revivalist tent show, as Richard Peck preaches the gospel that “you’re only as good as your opening line. Our readers do not read reviews or catalog copy and do not use the internet for examining publishers offerings. Our sales are the first lines. Is there a perfect opening line, yes, but it’s been used,” he says, with perfect timing.
“The first line needs to be a grenade. The story has to begin before you start. The story is already going, pulling out of the station and the reader runs to get on board. Do not begin little did I know when I woke up that morning or we were walking up the stairs when, or it was a little town where nothing ever happened. Francine Prose’sAfter doesn’t start with gunfire; it starts after the gunfire. E. B. White’s matchless first line of Charlotte’s Web is “Where’s Papa going with that axe?” You don’t give your readers time to think on the first page.” (more…)