Monday, March 30, 2009

Project Funny-Bone

Illustrators Schmooze in OC
Saturday, April 25
10:30 am
at the studio of Marilyn Scott-Waters

Project Funny-Bone
What do kids find humorous in an illustration? Can you make them laugh with your funny picture? Take the challenge and bring one or more hilarious illustrations- -rough or complete--to share at the schmooze. (Think: eye-catching portfolio piece for summer conference.) Bring examples of funny illustrations for kids.

Contact me if you need directions to Marilyn's

See you there!

Veronica Walsh

illustration provided by the very funny Marilyn Scott-Waters

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Illustrators Schmooze in OC

Hello Schmoozers,

Wow! What a great time we had on Saturday at the Illustrators Schmooze in OC! Master calligrapher, Janet Takahashi, demonstrated the technique of calligraphy and gave a brief history on the beautiful writing craft. Then, with pens in hand, she led the group in a hands-on calligraphy experience. What a treat! We had fun playing with all the writing toys and practicing the French Roundhand style. She makes it look so easy! We also enjoyed seeing how she incorporates calligraphy into her delightful illustrations.

Thanks, Janet, for sharing your time and talent with us!

Veronica Walsh

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Westside Writers Schmooze Picture Book Critique Night

On Wednesday, March 11th, 25 brave souls shared their manuscripts at the Westside Schmooze's annual Picture Book Critique Night, and more than 10 additional writers came to join in and provide feedback!

We broke into five smaller groups and Lee outlined the "Sandwich" method of feedback we suggested everyone follow:

1. Say something you liked

2. Let the author ask questions they have

3. Share constructive feedback - i.e., not "you should do this" but "I was unclear on this"

4. Finish with something good, some overall encouragement

Rita added the final twist to the night - when each group finished the manuscripts brought, she provided us with the typed-out texts from recently published picture books. It was fascinating to analyze these works without their accompanying art!

This is a great exercise you can do at home, too.
Just pick a favorite picture book, type out the words in a separate document, and and see if you can identify what gave the manuscript that special sparkle that convinced an editor to publish it!

(You can also ask a friend to do this for you - have them type up the words to a picture book you've never seen!)

All in all, it was a fascinating and successful night.

Come join us on April 15 (one week later than usual due to the Jewish holiday of Passover) for Middle Grade and Young Adult Manuscript Critique Night!

For those of you who'd like to receive feedback on your Middle Grade or Young Adult manuscript, please bring FIVE copies of up to a maximum of FOUR pages in proper format (double-spaced, normal font and margins). You don’t need to bring pages to participate: critiquing is a GREAT way to learn, and to see what everyone else has been working on! But please do RSVP to and mention whether you’re bringing a manuscript or not. Both fiction and non-fiction are welcome.

More schmooze details (location, etc...) here.

Hope to see you then,

Lee and Rita

Photos by Rita Crayon Huang

San Fernando Valley / Glendale Area Illustrators Schmooze

March 19 “A Story Night-Out” - Picture Book Critiques

Picture books are best when read out loud to an audience. There's no better or appreciative audience than the Schmooze! We had reading time at the bookstore and got some helpful advice on our stories. Using our picture book manuscripts and illustrations to share with the group for review. We had some wonderful stories and great illustrations.

The best part was the new faces! We had 10 people today... several new comers and great input from all... Welcome Janine, Josh, Spencer, Brittany and Frank!!! ...we had Chocolate as well, yum yum!

I will share with you some pieces of the great stories...

There were adventures of kids and their mook, with a moose as the narrator,
A story of a boy who outsmarts his senses, a boy with a fear, a real witch hater.
Stories that went in timeless rhyme,
Goodnight, sleeptight, dream of a magical time.

Boys who lost their 'yes' and are extremely testy,

Daughters that just go 'umph' and are very messy.

Cows that disrupted the peace on the moon,

These stories will be out there for you to read soon!

They are all wonderful stories and very creative... thank you all for sharing.

We are having an illustration assignment for a Show and will be doing a Crit and suggestions for improvements next months meeting... Show assignment 'Pick a Grimms' this is the link to Grimms Tales:

“All kinds of Focus and Hocus Pocus”
Thursday, April 16th, 6:30-8:30pm:
Get out your broom and get ready to sweep the cobwebs off your goals…
Let’s reassess Our Illustration/writing Goals for 2009… We'll take a look at our individual direction and focus. Make plans so you know where you want to be. Please come prepared to share your goals--or--to set a few. We’ll discuss what we want to get out of our Schmooze and new topics too.

LOCATION: Once Upon a Time Bookshoppe
2207 Honolulu Avenue, Montrose CA 91020
(between Zeke’s and Rocky Cola Cafe)
PHONE NUMBER TO STORE: (818) 248-9668
If you can't find street parking there is more through the alley, by Black Cow in a big lot.

-Jen Swain
(818) 429-6906

Antelope Valley Schmooze

Hello All:

At our recent Antelope Valley Schmooze we had just finished talking about putting detail in our writing by using our five senses (taste, smell, sight, touch, sound). After we finished talking about how to accomplish this, participants were given an assignment. Each was given brown envelope containing several small, random items. A note was included with the objects.

The note read: “A twelve year old girl is trying to solve a mystery. She just found a clue (or make use of the other items in the envelope as well). Describe the clue/s using as many of your senses as possible and tell us why she feels it/they will help her solve the mystery.”

If the writers desired, they were asked to describe the setting where the object was found, making use of what we learned about injecting the five senses into our writing.

I’ll see what the writers came up with at our next schmooze, which will take place Wednesday, April 8.

I used this same assignment at a recent presentation I had given at a writer’s group. My talk was about “Picture Writing: using your senses while writing,” and the attendees enjoyed the challenge. At this event the writers only had 15 minutes to write their scenario and I was amazed at the quality of work they produced in that short time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recap of March Schmooze in Central OC!

We had a great schmooze in March! Topics varied: the state of the economy, cover letters, freelance editors, & upcoming conferences. Here is a breakdown of our main discussion points:

The state of economy It's a tough business right now (when isn't it?) But editors and agents still agree: readers still want (and will buy) great stories. So improve your craft, and keep writing what you care about- perseverance will get you through this tough time. 
Sign up for Bruce Hale's e-newsletter. He's had some great articles on this subject lately:

Cover Letters Be concise! Do your research and let the editor/agent know what you like about their work. Introduce yourself, and make sure to mention if you met them at a conference. Briefly summarize your manuscript, and don't be afraid to include samples of your "voice," what makes you unique as a writer. Include writing bio information, and always end your letter graciously!

Freelance editing If you've been through 3 or 4 revisions, and your manuscript still needs work, consider using a reputable freelance editor. Former Harcourt editor and current teen author, Deborah Halverson, does affordable & amazing freelance work. Check out her website, and click on "About Deborah" for more information on her editing fees.

Upcoming conferences

SCBWI/LA Writer's Day 4/18
SCBWI/OC Agent's Day 5/16

Join me again in early May for another schmooze. Hang tough, and happy writing!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Illustrators Schmooze in OC--March 21

Illustrators Schmooze in OC
Saturday, March 21
10:30 am
at the studio of Marilyn Scott-Waters

"STRETCH YOUR HAND, while exercising your pen"

Hands-on exercises learning the fundamentals of pointed pen script calligraphy with a dip pen and ink. No experience necessary.
Janet Takahashi, expert calligrapher and illustrator will demonstrate.

RSVP a must for materials that will be provided. When RSVPing, please give me your FIRST and LAST NAME.

mailto:green2cats@yahoo. com

Contact me if you need directions to Marilyn's.

See you there!

Veronica Walsh
mailto:green2cats@yahoo. com