Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November meeting notes SFV-Glendale Illus. Schmooze

Here is the info from our meeting 'Submitting our work to trades, magazines, and educational resource publications' that Rita put together. I've just included the writing links. If you also illustrate, then please look on the same sites for illustrator links.

Highlights: https://www.highlights.com/current-needs

Cricket Mag group: http://www.cricketmag.com/6-Submission-Guidelines-for-kids-magazines-for-children-from-toddlers-to-teens

National Geographic Kids: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-content/file/Writer_Guidelines-2012-cb1331644966.pdf

 If you have a background in education, you can also write for Teacher Created Materials: http://www.teachercreatedmaterials.com/careers and Teacher Created Resources: http://www.teachercreated.com/company/jobs.php.

Boys Life mag: http://media.scouting.org/boyslife/about/contributors/writers.pdf

Fun for Kidz mag: http://funforkidzmagazines.com/ffk_guidelines

Houghton Mifflin: http://www.hmhco.com/popular-reading/authors/manuscript-submissions

Disney: http://www.clubhousejr.com/submission-guidelines.aspx

Educational market clearinghouse: http://evelynchristensen.com/markets.html

Children's magazines clearinghouse: http://evelynchristensen.com/mags.html

SCBWI is looking for a coordinator to help plan the 2015 Illustrator Day, which is tentatively set for Sept or Oct. If you are interested, please contact Sarah Laurenson, SCBWI LA's co-regional advisor, at sarah.laurenson@gmail.com.

SCBWI is also looking for a published/listed illustrator to be the illustrator representative for the Published and Listed (PAL) group. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Robert Mellette at mellette@earthlink.net.

Our next Schmooze is our holiday gathering Wine and Chocolate Party on Thurs., Dec. 18. 6:30-8:30 at the Wine Cave in Montrose. It's Sketch Book Night so bring your sketches/writing and chocolate to share! We will have good munchies and great chocolate.

Starting in January, we will meet on the second Thursday of the month, so that we don't conflict with our friends at the Hollywood Schmooze. We're still at the wonderful Once Upon a Time bookstore at 6:30-8pm.

For those of you on FB, our group has a page, SFV Glendale Illustrators/Writers Schmooze. Please check it out and "like" us. https://www.facebook.com/GlendaleIllustrators?fref=nf

Barney Saltzberg Visits the Hollywood Schmooze

STAR OF THE WEEK, by author-illustrator
Barney Saltzberg
Barney Saltzberg with a new Hollywood Schmooze guest and author, Jane Rosenberg.
Barney Saltzberg has written over 50 picture books, so he had a lot to share with us on 11/20/2014.
We met in "the Office" -- for a cozy chat, and gained an understanding of what the successful life of a successful picture book writer looks like. Barney tours and speaks at schools. He is also being sent on international tours now by the State Dept. as a cultural envoy. It all sounds rather incredible. But Barney was the most down-to-earth, personable guest imaginable.

He inspired us, as he must do for countless kids who read his books!

He also told us of his long road to success. Though publishing came fairly easily, it took a while for him to build up a following. He almost quit once or twice, but when he re-doubled his efforts, his success took off.

So, have faith. "Being an artist takes time!" And Thanks, Barney, for taking the time to visit our Schmooze....
Reading "CHENGDU" to us.
Hearing Barney read: CHENGDU COULD NOT, WOULD NOT FALL ASLEEP was a treat. It is one of the most adorable picture books !
  And he's working on a sequel right now....

SFV Glendale (Montrose) Illustrators/Writers Schmooze

Hi folks! We had a great gathering on Nov. 20 where we discussed our successes (and otherwise) in children's trades, magazines, and educational resource publications. We also got to share resources and learn more about each other's work. We're looking forward to our holiday Schmooze on Dec. 18. Time and location to be confirmed, but most likely at 7pm at the Wine Cave in Montrose. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Westside Illustrators Schmooze

The Westside Illustrators
& Writers Schmooze
WHEN: Monday evening, November 17, 2014
                        7:00pm to 9:00pm
WHERE: 445 15th Street, Santa Monica CA 90402
  Speaker Night
         "Meet Librarian Kathleen Svetlik!"

   Kat is the school librarian at Oakwood Elementary School
              and previously Campbell Hall.
Learn everything you want to know about the children's library!  Come prepared to participate and ask questions!
 $5 speaker donation appreciated (but not required) for this meeting
"Doodle a Day "
  "Dream Big... Start Small!" with baby steps  
                                      no meeting in December

RSVP???  YES...if you can...    SuzyBlock@gmail.com
WHERE??? 445 Fifteenth Street, Santa Monica Ca 90402
    5 blocks north of Wilshire,  between Montana & San Vicente.         A two story Spanish-style private home.    
Let's enjoy a fun creative evening together
& move forward in our common pursuit

of making a contribution to the world of
children's illustration and literature!
cell 818 389 1950

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Hollywood Writers Schmooze Explores Non-Fiction

In October, the Hollywood Schmooze met and discussed the ins and outs of non-fiction writing. This area is in great demand and growing. But somehow it seems less exciting than fiction...it doesn't have to be! The trick as a non-fiction writer is to catch your audience's attention just as a thrilling fictional story would. Of course, you need to do a lot of research or already be an expert in a specific topic.

Librarians, teachers and parents know how important NON-FICTION is for TEACHING KIDS!
So, here are a few things we discussed:

RESEARCH BEST PRACTICES: Deborah says she's going to post a whole article on her blog about this, so you might as well go there to read more about that...Deborah's Blog

Here's an idea to get you inspired, if you don't know where to start:
Take a little known event in history, or historical figure, that you always wished you'd read about as a kid and try writing a biography about him or her or it.

Chances are, you might have an easier time getting this published -- because there is a great need for these types of works.

Make your story readable.

Document your sources,
provide timelines and sidebars and most of all...
let your young reader get lost in the wonder of the subject matter.
Even if your story is about something sad that happened, like a war or natural disaster, you can write it in a way that will let kids LEARN and KEEP these events in their memories.

NON-FICTION books are one of the best, easiest and "funnest" ways for kids to learn about history, science, nature and important political events.

For example: Just recently America under President Obama signed a pact with China to cut carbon emissions. How would you write a story about this event and make it exciting and fun for kids to read about? Imagine you took the public photo of Obama and China's Xi Jinping walking on the Great Wall that appeared in the news and turned it into a story.

This is just one of the many exciting possibilities awaiting those who take a turn at non-fiction.

NON-FICTION Book Proposals are different than Fiction Queries. Look at
Full Circle Literary  agency for information on
how to submit a non-fiction book proposal.

The good thing about non-fiction is that you can submit a proposal, sample chapters and not
write the entire manuscript before signing a contract. But of course, then you need to meet the deadline you set with the publisher.

Good luck and let us know if you have any questions or comments!

Deborah Fletcher Blum and Jean Perry
SCBWI Hollywood Writer's Schmooze Co-coordinators

The Hollywood Writer's Schmooze meets in and around Hollywood and Miracle Mile.
Please check the SCBWI Southern California Regional Schmooze Calendar for more information.
schmooze calendar and see you at the Schmooze!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"Harriet Can Carry It" author Kirk Mueller Book Signing

Harriet Can Carry ItOn Saturday, November 1st, Santa Clarita Valley Schmoozer, Kirk Mueller, shared his journey from teacher to author at his book signing at the Newhall Library.  It was a packed house of Kirk's former students, teacher friends, family and SCBWI members.
Kirk thanked everyone from his warm and lovely wife, to our fearless Schmooze leader, Laurisa  - and all people in between - for supporting him in his dream  - which took ten years to manifest.  Ten years!
Kirk said, "I kept it a secure for so long...it was just a title, Harriet Can Carry It."  And then one day while he was rummaging through some rejected library books and he found a picture of a kangaroo, and knew who Harriet was.  He had to tell her story.
Still a crazy, busy teacher, it took him many years after that to actually write the book.  He sent it out four years ago and got some "really nice rejection letters."  But he didn't give up.  And after two years he heard from Starlight Books that they wanted to publish.  And the rest, as Kirk said, "Was history."
Kirk, now happily retired, is working on his next book, but that's not all.  He returning to his roots of story telling and song writing.  He even wrote a song for the adorable Harriet.  A catchy tune that I'm still singing...

She said, "You all can come along. 
                   If you just sing this song,
                   I'll carry your stuff till I've had enough
                   Cause I'm so nice and strong."

Fun fun fun.  Congrats Kirk!  And thanks for inviting us to "Come along and sing your song." 
-Posted by Cindy Marcus

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Plotting, Structure And Other Stuff The October Schmooze Kinda-Sorta Covered (The Journey of Your Book, Part II)

It was another full house at the October 8th Schmooze, which again included a handful of first timers – woot, woot!  After announcements and introductions, we quickly got down to the business at hand – namely, how do we get from Story Spark (explored last month) to figuring out our plot and structure?

                                                    Partygoer #1:
                            Right now, it's only a notion. But I think I can get
                            money to make it into a concept.  And later turn it
                            into an idea.
                                                                  – Annie Hall

As usual, Charlie did extensive internet research.  Though some (Karol) might argue that this is merely his way of avoiding writing, others (Charlie) might argue that this is a complete misunderstanding of his process.  When tackling a new Schmooze topic, Charlie looks deep inside himself to figure out his own personal response.  Finding nothing there but desolation and despair, a barren wasteland in black and white (not unlike the end of Eric Von Stroheim’s Greed) with only a few, desiccated, dying maggots of regret, Charlie turns to the internet. 

Here’s what he found out about turning a brainstorm into a book: 

Everybody does it differently.

It’s all a matter of what works for you, what “door” you need to go through to get into your story.  For instance, a surprising number of writers favor doing your research, notes, and brainstorming and then just starting to write.  As one of them said, “Sometimes once you start with something, you kick out some more ideas whereas if you leave the idea to fester it will continue to do so.”  Others are more Karol-like in their dependence on outlining and mapping, some even saying things like, “A plot has three parts and two main transition points. T1 is the ‘epiphany moment’ where the story is moving along and something happens to change everything.  T2 is the ‘point of no return’ where something happens to force an ending either way.”  (Charlie thought T2 was just an overproduced sequel to a masterpiece.)

Charlie then tried to learn what Plato was on about in his poetics.  The main thing Charlie manage to cull from the great philosopher was the difference between plot and story:  Plot is causal.  This happened because that happened:

                        The king dies, and the queen dies – story
                        The king dies, and the queen dies of grief – plot
                                    E. M. Forester

With that, the discussion turned to structure, and Karol, being the tragically regimented gal that she is, gave a rundown on 3 Act screenplay structure, which she feels can be applied to children’s novels.  She also offered up the value of another screenwriting trope, the 12 point Beat Sheet and shared a few specific details about how creating one for her new middle grade novel helped her to figure out the plot.  In both of these structure tools, the beginning and end sections together are as long as the middle section, so a 12 point beat sheet would take a 3-6-3 format.  Charlie began to think how he never really got math and only passed geometry ‘cause Mr. Samuels took pity on him and so, lost track of the conversation.

“But what of pictures books?” Karol mused, bringing Charlie back to consciousness..  She tried her hand at creating a 4 point Beat Sheet for Green Eggs and Ham, and came up with the following (which, incidentally, amused structure-phobic Charlie to no end):


1.     Sam I Am tries to get the narrator to try green eggs and ham, but the narrator refuses.


2.     Sam makes many suggestions of circumstances in which the narrator may like green eggs and ham; the narrator rebuffs every suggestion and adds his own examples of circumstances in which he still would not like green eggs and ham.

3.     Exasperated, the narrator agrees to try green eggs and ham if it’ll make Sam leave him alone.

4.     The narrator tries green eggs and ham and discovers, to his astonishment, that he likes them.

Of course, there are many tools available to help writers figure out plot and structure.  Charlie uses the outline feature in Microsoft Word heavily and brought examples to share.  And while he finds popular writing software Scrivner most helpful once he’s gotten into revisions, other writers swear by using it from start to finish.  Some writers like using real index cards (as opposed to virtual versions, like Scrivner features) to get a look at their stories physically laid out in front of them.  Starting at the end of your story and working your way backwards, making sure there’s cause-and-effect from scene to scene, is another trusted plotting exercise.

Many books, blogs and podcasts offering help with plot and structure are out there, too – from the oft-mentioned Save the Cat by Blake Snyder to 20 Master Plots (And How To Build Them) by Ronald Tobias (both technically screenwriting books but applicable to any stories) to Second Sight by Cheryl B. Klein and the Narrative Breakdown podcast (http://www.narrativebreakdown.com/). 

For writers of fantasy and otherworldly stories, Charlie and Karol asked  (perhaps cajoled is a more accurate word) Rita Crayon Huang to present some info on world building.  She began by saying that if you google “world building,” you get an exhaustive amount of info.  She turned to a trusted source for her own writing – Malinda Lo’s Five Foundations of World Building.  These include: Rules, Rituals, Power, Place and Food (yes – food!).  Read all the details here - http://www.malindalo.com/2012/10/five-foundations-of-world-building/

The discussion then moved on to The Other Stuff Your Book Kinda-Sorta Needs – and that’s a list that can be endless.  A few items on the list might be:  voice, humor, a distinct point of view, flawed but relatable character(s), character arc, antagonist, obstacles, theme, stakes, etc., etc., etc..  Different books have different requirements, and each writer is probably the best judge of what his or her own story needs.

We finished up the night with a choice of writing exercises.  Schmoozers were invited to try their hands at doing beat sheets (for both novels or picture books) or to work on “Other Stuff Brainstorming” (with the help of Karol’s trusty worksheets, which you, TOO, can use by clicking HERE.)  After rapping a bit about how the exercises went, it was time to pack up and say our goodnights. 

Based on the full houses and lively participation this month and last, it’s clear to us here at Schmooze Central that this Journey Of Your Book Year-Long Schmooze Experiment is a huge hit!  Be sure to continue the journey with us on Wednesday, November 12th when we’ll be discussing Writing, Rewriting, Discipline And Other Loathsome Necessities.

Until then, keep passing the open windows,

Charlie & Karol