Wednesday, December 31, 2008

San Fernando Valley Illus Schmooze Dec.

Our December discussion was: What good book have you read lately and/or your favorite children’s book character? (we had books to share and books to trade. If you haven't seen some of these check them out!)

There are so many greats that we discussed and a few favorites were..
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type Doreen Cronin
Olivia by Ian Falconer
Corduroy by Don Freeman
The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willlems

Also more favorites from others:
Published in 1964, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh was a top read. Also the two female characters in children’s books that you can identify with while growing up are Ramona from the Beverly Cleary series and Pippi Longstockingby Astrid Lindgren (Haven’t you ever wanted to travel and be an exotic adventurer just like Pippi).

Your favorites… Emily’s Runaway Imagination and Golden Name Day, by Jennie D Lindquist. It might have been the illustrations by Garth Williams that drew me in, or the idea of a Name Day. The two books that followed are The Little Silver House and The Crystal Tree

Frances the badger from Bread and Jam for Frances. Nancy Drew and anything by Judy Blume. Thank God for Judy Blume.

The children in The Box Car Children, School House in the Woods and Clematis were three of my favorites, and of course all three of Jennie’s books.

Sarah crewes, of the little princess, by fhb, and loved her generosity!, and how resourceful she was!

Helen Fuller Orton’s mystery books, and Edgar Eager’s magic books, and all of Alcott’s and also all of the five little peppers, and all of a kind family.

Characters that you grow to love and children can’t get enough of..
What is your favorite character?

South Bay Writer's and Illustrator's Schmooze

Happy New Year..
From the South Bay Writer's & Illustrator's Schmooze.We hope you all have had a lovely Holiday with your friends and families..
And are gearing up for a fantastic 2009!!!

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events, starting with a fantastic speaker; Published author/illustrator, June Sobel.

Also. the South Bay Schmooze will be starting the first annual Writer & Illustrator Exchange in February & March. Come to our Schmooze on Feb 10 to participate.

January 31st - One Rhyme at a Time - My Road to Picture Book Publication
Guest Speaker: June Sobel shares about her road to publication and shares the journey from messy first drafts to press ready final lines. She will bring illustration sketches and discuss the collaboration between illustrator, author and editor
10:30 - 12:30 at Bobaloca - Manhattan Beach
RSVP to Suzanne - South Bay Schmooze

February 10th: "Schmooze" = Bobaloca - Manhattan Beach 7 - 9:00 p.m.
**** 1st annual Writer & Illustrator Exchange - Part One****
Bring a one page descriptive introduction / or 8 x 10 illustration of a NEW character -sealed in an envelope. We will exchange characters and write/illustrate, with our collaborations revealed at the meeting in March!!!
Discussion Topic: Short Stories and Quick Sketches / Submitting work to trades, magazines, and educational resource publications.

March 28th - : Saturday Morning - Writer's and Illustrator's Schmooze
**** 1st annual Writer & Illustrator Exchange - Part Two****
Reveal the illustrations and share the developed characters exchanged at the Feb meeting. The final results will be posted on our schmooze website and a viewer's choice will be posted!!!!
Discussion Topic: REFRESHING NEW IDEAS!!! HOW TO PITCH A STORY. and get it down in writing.
Bristol Farms / Redondo Beach
10:00 - 12:00

Suzanne C. Gibson & Jessica Chrysler
SCBWI - South Bay Schmooze Coordinator's

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December's LA Westside Writers Schmooze - Best Tips On "The Writer's Life"

In the Finale of their illustrious run as Schmooze Coordinators, Sara Wilson Etienne and Greg Pincus led December’s LA Westside Schmooze this past Wednesday night in a great think-tank style discussion of tips and advice about “The Writer’s Life.” 35 people participated in extending our appreciation to Sara and Greg, and everyone enjoyed the cupcakes, conversation, and camaraderie!

Here are some of the best tips shared (and if you recall others, or didn’t get a chance to chime in at the Schmooze, join the discussion now in “comments!”)

On What to Write

“Write your passion.”

“Write what you love.”

On How to Write

“You just have to have faith in the gradual accrual of pages.”

“Just spew it.”

“Just keep writing because you can’t edit a blank page.”

Put a cap on covering your eyes while you’re writing so you can’t go backwards to try to make the earlier stuff perfect… just go forwards.

On Making Time

If you have a favorite TV show and no time to write – stop watching your show and you’ll suddenly have that regular time every week.

Some authors put their kids to bed in the clean clothes they’ll wear the next day to school – it saves time in the morning!

Some authors let housework slide (“You can eat off my kitchen floor. For a week.”)

Write first thing in the morning while your gate keeper/built-in self-editor is still asleep.

Set a kitchen timer and you have to write until it rings.

Piggyback on another commitment so you write after or before you do something else that is set in your schedule.

Schedule blocks of time to write as appointments.

Try not to obsess so much on the “business” side of being a writer that you don’t have time left to write.

On Motivation

Set aside time just to write.

Give yourself permission to be quirky about your process (one author only writes at writer retreats, another only at cafes…)

Give yourself permission to write crap.

Give yourself permission to write as something positive you’re doing for yourself.

Set yourself up for success: leave yourself something fun to do right away the next time you sit down to write.

Try writing the first paragraph of the next chapter so you have an easier start to the next writing session.

Try reviewing your work from the time before as a way to get started.

Try a writing exercise to “limber up” your writing muscles.

Sometimes doing some menial task (making models, walking, etc…) can trigger your creative thoughts on your story – part of your brain is busy, freeing up the story part…

Use contest and magazine submission deadlines as motivators.

Tell some kids you’ll have it ready to share with them – you won’t want to disappoint them.

Get over your guilt about enjoying writing or taking the time to write.

On How Writing is Hard AND Joyful

“People like having children but they don’t like giving birth”

“Writing that perfect sentence – there’s nothing like it.”

On Community

Go to workshops and conferences and schmoozes – approach writing as a career.

A lot of The Writers Life is about building a community around yourself (for support, advice, and to feel like you’re not alone)

Take yourself seriously as a writer – respect yourself and your time, and once you do, others (family, friends) will respect you as a professional, too.

Just ‘cause it looks like you’re on the couch, um… napping, you are actually WORKING (thinking), and that’s hard for non-writers to understand.

On Submitting

You’ve got to send the work out!

“Eventually cream rises to the top.”

“Don’t throw something out there that’s half baked.”

“Never give up!”

On Impatience

We’re pretty much all impatient about the process.

You don’t want to send things out too soon. You don’t want to let your work sit in a drawer and never submit it to be published. And once you have submitted your work, it takes months and months… with all the waiting, what can you do?

Try blogging.

Submit stuff to magazines.

And start a new writing project!

Books recommended by attendees:

“The Vein of Gold” by Julia Cameron (by the author of “The Artists Way”)

Websites recommended by attendees: - register your cell phone, you leave messages and it sends you an email of your dictation.
– a place to have your work critiqued online.

Happy Holidays to all, and Happy New Year! Rita Crayon Huang and I (Lee Wind) hope to see you all at next months' schmooze on Wednesday, January 14, 2009. Topic: New Beginnings, First Lines! Check out more details on the Calendar, here!



ps- Thanks to Mara for baking and Graeme for documenting those awesome cupcakes!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Terrific Schmooze meeting West San Gabriel Valley

The West San Gabriel Valley Schmooze meets every other month at the Hastings Branch of the Pasadena Library.
Our topics vary, as does our attendance. This year's highlight was the presentation on picture books by two of our schmoozers, Ann Garrett and Susan Lendroth. In tandem, and with a professional flair which made us urge them to 'take their show on the road' they covered the creation of a picture book.

Susan is never without her 'note' notebook. An idea - a jot. She admits to breaking all the rules about limiting vocabulary, or avoiding rhyme. Her first picture book, Why Explore? was the result of responding to questions about the value of space exploration after a shuttle tragedy. It contains a variety of rhymed questions and answers about the importance of exploring new lands, the microscopic world, ancient civilizations, etc.

Ann's picture books include What's for Lunch, What's for Dinner, and Tales of Tails. Each is a book with lift-up flaps - and one had sales of more than 25,000 copies. Evidence of its success was the ear-splitting tantrum thrown by a boy who refused to let it go long enough for his mother to purchase it. The entire bookstore was treated to the shrieking enthusiasm of this young reader.

Both writers emphasized the importance of maintaining a constant work-in-progress, work submitted, idea-hatching ethic. With a delightful sense of humor, while facing the reality of today's grim marketplace, Ann and Susan are an act worth