Community

community

noun
noun: community; plural noun: communities

-a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

source: Google search ‘community’ https://www.google.com/search?q=community+definition&rlz=1C1TSNF_enUS605US605&oq=community&aqs=chrome.3.69i57j0l5.5317j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

The kidlit world is a community! Whether it is through a local writing group, critique partners, social media, classes, blogs, or SCBWI and other organizations, the sense of togetherness and purpose is palpable.

As I establish my online media presence, I have had the opportunity to connect with some upstanding writers, authors, and agents.

I believe supporting others in my tribe to be important and relevant to the goals of kidlit. Today, I would like to highlight the talented and creative Tori DeLeon known for her #kidlitprompts and illustrations. She created a web page banner for my story Sylvia & CABot.

Here it is:

It is adorable, right? I think so.

So that her talent can be highlighted further, here is my pitch for this story so that you can see her ability to capture my WIP.

Matilda + Big Hero 6 + Walle + Frankenstein

When Sylvia’s family is too busy to help her build a blanket fort again, she gets “friggly” and takes matters into her own hands. She utilizes her pint-sized engineering skills: brainstorming, sketching, measuring, and drafting to create the perfect invention! She brings CABot, her Customized Assisting Robot, to life. CABot becomes her fort building solution—making her favorite pastime a reality, but Sylvia soon finds out that CABot can help her build more than just a fort.

Give Tori a shout out and peruse her website by visiting https://torideleon.com/ and http://torideleon.com/kidlitprompts

Follow your dreams! Don’t give up! It takes a community to make a difference. Be part of that difference.

 

 

Identity Crisis

identity crisis

noun

-a state of confusion in an institution or organization regarding its nature or direction

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/identity%20crisis

As a writer, I would tweak this definition to say: A state of confusion regarding how to tag your story in the appropriate genre and by its characteristics.

Note: This isn’t to be confused with a character in your story having an identity crisis but the story itself.

I usually have a firm grip on the genre of my stories with their accompanying age range and word count. I think most writers tend to work within the same genre but some successfully cross genres without problem.

What about the story that gets crafted and leaves you feeling confused? Examples might include knowing the difference between nonfiction, informational fiction and narrative nonfiction? What about middle grade and young adult?

Knowing the characteristics of the genre you’re writing within is important as you prepare to pitch, query, and submit your story to contests, agents, and so forth.

Middle Grade and Young Adult

Here’s a link to answer the middle grade vs. young adult question:

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/the-key-differences-between-middle-grade-vs-young-adult

Tae Keller’s book, The Science of Breakable Things is an example of middle grade.

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

Ransom Riggs’s book, Miss Peregrines’s Home for Peculiar Children is an example of Young Adult.

Image result for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Narrative Nonfiction

Here’s a link to find out more about narrative nonfiction:

http://www.writersandeditors.com/narrative_nonfiction_57378.htm

Miranda Paul’s book, One Plastic Bag is an example of narrative nonfiction.

Image result for one plastic bag

Informational Fiction

Here is a link to find out what informational fiction is:

http://celebratescience.blogspot.com/2016/10/behind-books-what-is-heck-is.html

Josh Funk’s book, How to Code a Sandcastle is an example of informational fiction.

These are just a few examples to help you avoid an identity crisis when “tagging” your story.

Keep writing! Keep creating!

 

Query

Something I am spending time on right now is the query letter. I feel that this is an area that I need to improve upon.

Getting started: Do your research and review query submission guidelines for each person you intend to query before you hit “send”. By familiarizing yourself with the structure of a query letter and how agents or editors want to receive it will be the first step to success.

What is a query letter?

query letter is typically a one-page letter sent to literary agents, acquiring editors open to unsolicited submissions, and some small presses in an effort to get them excited about your story.  The goal of the query letter is to have a literary agent or editor request your manuscript for review.

How important is the query letter?

While the story you crafted will speak for itself, the query letter is the avenue to getting you story in front of an agent or editor. Think of the query letter as the “first impression” someone gets of you as a writer. With that, the query letter is important. It will be the defining moment (“show me more” or the deal breaker) for many agents and editors.

What needs to be in the query letter?

1. Personalize It.

First, address the agent or editor by name. If you don’t know the name of the person you want to query. Stop. Go back and do your research first. Know what their name is and spell it correctly. Ask yourself, “why am I submitting to said agent or editor?” and “Does my work align with their preferences and wish lists?” If it does not, don’t waste your time or theirs.

2.  The Pitch.

Second, grab the attention of the agent or editor. Leave an unforgettable impression with your pitch. Make them want to read you work.  (This is where you sell your idea to them)

3. The Tag(s).

Don’t forget to include the tags of your story. What is the working title? word count? genre/category? These tags give the agent or editor classified detail about your work.

4. Your Bio.

This is where you highlight any of your writing achievements, education, and platform. I’ve learned through researching the query letter that if you don’t have anything published–it’s okay to state that -or- impart that this would be your “debut” book.

5. Express Gratitude

Before you close out your query letter, it is vital to thank the agent or editor for their time and consideration.

What happens next?

After you submit a query letter, the waiting game begins. Usually, the agent or editor will have a time-frame posted about when/how you will hear from them. Often times, agents and editors will state specifically that if you don’t hear from them in “x” amount of time, assume they are passing on your work.

If you need help keeping track of your queries, check out Query Tracker at:

https://querytracker.net/

There are many articles and how-to’s about crafting the perfect query letter online. It will be worth your time and effort! Happy writing!

 

 

Revision

re·vi·sion
rəˈviZHən
noun
1. the act of changing or correcting something, or the thing that has been changed or corrected.
One cannot be a serious writer without going through the process of revision. The act of revising is not for the weak or tenderhearted. To truly revise means that you can identify the flaws and change, improve, and rework you piece. For me, I am often times too close to my work to be that objective. This is where the help of others comes in.
Recently, I was presented with the opportunity to join together in “the art of critiquing” which turns into revising, editing, and rewriting with a critique partner. A real, formal CP. I haven’t had said partner up to this point in my writing journey. Sure, I’ve had family, friends, and co-workers who have generously and graciously read my manuscripts and offered some advice. (Who doesn’t need the unwavering support of cheerleaders no matter how bad my story is?) While I have appreciated their efforts in every way, working with a CP in a professional way–who is not in the family/friend/co-worker zone has thus far proved worthwhile. If you don’t currently have a CP, consider it. It may not be for every writer, but so far it is working for me. (Shout out to you Rach!)
One of my most cherished books on revising is William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White’s book, “The Elements of Style.” If you haven’t read it. Read it. If you don’t own your own copy, I would encourage you to do so.
Image result for The Elements of style
How’s this for a thought?
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I look at revision with as positive of an attitude as possible. With each revision, my writing evolves into something better. I learn along the way and to me that is one of the most important elements in the craft of writing. Rarely, does a writer produce something amazing in the first draft.
So…
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Effort

effort
noun ef·fort \ ˈe-fərt , -ˌfȯrt \
1: conscious exertion of power
2 : a serious attempt
3 : something produced by exertion
4 : effective force as distinguished from the possible resistance called into action by such a force
5 : the total work done to achieve a particular end
source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effort
   What are the odds that I will ever achieve my dream of becoming a published children’s book author?
   I think that not knowing the odds of that question allows me to continue persevering in my writing efforts. With effort comes hope. If I do my part, I can hope for the best.
   I am no golfer but Arnold Palmer said it best:
               “Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you. “
   To me, effort means giving my all no matter what. I have good days and bad days as a writer. Take writer’s block, for example. To recognize it and then proceed by stepping away from the story or by pushing through it takes effort. Sometimes my efforts in writing improve by doing something other than writing. For me it is running. It helps to clear my mind and let’s me reset. While running and writing are completely different activities, both require effort especially if there is a purpose behind it. Training for a half marathon forced me to plan, train, be mindful of my diet and sleep schedule during my preparation for race day. Writing in many ways is like training for a marathon.
 Image result for effort
   There are a number of odds facing writers that have nothing to do with personal effort and are beyond control:
     1. saturated market
     2. writing is a subjective business
     3. time constraints
     4. money
     5. market trends
     6. diversity
     7. the slush pile
   Deciding to write and share it is not for the faint of heart. Good writing takes effort. Querying takes effort. Submitting work takes effort. Pushing past rejection takes effort. Improving (your) writing takes effort. Anything worth doing is going to require effort.
   I am going to continue making a “serious attempt” in my quest to become a published children’s book author. How about you?

FREE PB Critique!

There’s still time to get in the running! Hurry on over to: http://jesslynncarroll.com/rhyme-solutions/ for your chance to win.


GIVING BACK


In the spirit of giving back to our amazing KidLit community, I am hosting a WEEKLY GIVEAWAY for

1 FREE PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE (rhyme or prose).

The raffle runs from Monday to Friday, ending at midnight Friday night. Winner announced the following Monday.
Simply enter the raffle for your chance to win!