February's Inspirational Quote

"One Hour at a Time"
~ Laurie Wallmark.

Dear Laurie,
You might not recall saying this and perhaps I won't remember the specifics but you are our inspiration for the rest of February and maybe even March.

You and I were on the phone and talking about how hard it is to write a novel and as usual I was whining and feeling sorry for my long-a$$ journey. And you told me about how you were working and how busy you were so you wrote your novel one hour at a time. Astounded I said, "You wrote your novel one hour at a time?" And you said, "Yup." And I thought, "Wow... ... ..."

Often times we think we need - or I think I need - huge chunks of time set aside so I can write. Do you do that too? What if we gave ourselves one hour of each day? If it turns into two, well then fine, but if not, at least you still had your One Hour at a Time. So that is the motto of the month, thanks to ours truly, Laurie Wallmark.

We love you, Laurie!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Minutes from the MG/YA Novel Group; To Critique, or Not Critique… That was our Question...

First I would like to put a SHOUT OUT to Ariane in our group for beginning the PRINTING process of her book, ENCHANTED TIME. Way to go Ariane. We are so proud of your accomplishment. We’ve read this book from start to finish and now to see it (sniff) all grown up (sniff) and on it's way to the printing presses (blow...). We feel like little writer Aunties to ENCHANTED TIME and like proud Aunts, we help send you off of course with a...

Me, Ariane, Lynette

And party we did! Ariane's book is a children's recipe book presented through an adventure story. I will not give any story elements away. You'll have to visit Ariane at her website to gain more information into her marvelous tale of adventure, bravery, biting nails, and definitely laughter! It was a fun story told with humor and tension and a "satisfying" ending. In order to celebrate, we each made one of the recipes from Ariane's book and had a feast that could "satiate" a queen. (Words in quotes are hints about the book...) Again, our congratulations to you Ariane! All your hard work paid off!

And that brings me to the question... To critique or not critique... Well, you might not have known this, but while critiquing one another is of course our ultimate goal, it should not be our ONLY goal. Sometimes we need to come together and decompress. Share about workshops, tools that help us, or about one another's lives. And that's what today was all about for us MG/YA novelists. Sure we are tough on one another and encourage each other to always put our best page forward, but we all need to honor and celebrate one another from time to time as well. And what better way to do this, then around food! Mange! Mange!

But also, it gave us an opportunity to share our take on the NJ SCBWI workshop some of us attended on Sunday. AND... it gave us an opportunity to share elevator pitches. Now some of you might wonder what an elevator pitch is. Well, imagine you are at lunch... and you just so happen to be eating at a table with a children's editor... from say.... Sterling. Yes. And just for arguments sake, let's say her name is Anne... OK so someone asks "Anne," so Anne, what kind of books are your currently shopping? And Anne replies, Oh well, I am currently shopping for books that are appealing to boys in a humorous way (or insert a quick description of a book you are currently working on, or have already completed) And the annoying person sitting to your left elbows you and says, Oh (insert your name) here, is working on just such a book. Right (insert your name)? And just like that, you need to quickly, in a sentence or two, talk about your story.

Think of an elevator pitch as a come hither. It is intended to make people want to know more. You don't want to tell EVERYTHING in one long sentence. You want to seduce them. You want to intrigue them. You want to hook them. YOU WANT THEM TO WANT MORE.... So, today in the MG/YA group, we took a fun spin on the elevator pitch that we all dread giving. Instead of delivering our own pitch, we wrote, or delivered off the cuff, a pitch describing someone ELSE's book, not our own. This was so exciting and insightful (at least I thought so!) It really showed us how the others have perceived your book. What are you writing that has come off clearly? What hasn't? Did they see something in your novel YOU didn't? It was a lot of fun.

I recommend you all give this a try in your groups too. And perhaps come with an elevator pitch for another member in your group, or for your favorite book, or favorite movie, and then see if the others in the group can guess whose it is.

Anyone want to take a stab at it here? You don't have to pitch your idea. And actually please don't. Let's pitch a book or movie we all might know, and see if we can guess it. Here's my attempt. I am going to rename the main character MC though, because the name will really give it away...

Orphaned MC must live with his horrible Aunt, Uncle, and piggish cousin, when he discovers, he is not ordinary as they have repeatedly told him. Instead he is quite extraordinary. MC has magical powers he cannot understand. And what's more, there is a whole magical world most of us don't even know exists. AND in this magical world... MC is famous!

So let's have at it. I think it is pretty obvious. Leave your comment. Tell me who you think it is and give it a stab. Remember though, even my example is teetering on the too long side. So keep it short - it is NOT a SYNOPSIS. It is a seduction. Let's see if we can guess your example...

Cheers and happy writing!!!

Sheri ks, ks


Anonymous said...

This meeting was so helpful for me. Thinking of my elevator pitch for my book and hearing pitches of my book from other people really helped me narrow down what my book is about and how to work on the all important synopsis. Aside from the wonderful food from "Enchanted Thyme," I loved the space this meeting allowed for people to talk about process and, for me, to express the need to sometimes evaluate more than 15 pages. I love my group!

Sheri said...

Hey Kristine! Sorry it took me so long to respond, but I am so proud of you that you did it! You left a comment! I knew you could...

This was a great meeting wasn't it? It was so helpful to hear how other people would pitch your story. It helped know what they thought the main crux of the story was or what perhaps wasn't clear enough. It was fun! We should do this every so often...


Patricia said...


Not only do you entertain and intrigue with your novel, but you also do so with your blogs. You definitely have the gift of gab (with the writen word). And I love all your ideas; the elevator pitching sounds interesting. My next challenge is to write an eye-catching, irrisistable query letter.

Sheri said...

Ahhh thank Pat. All my teachers from about 3rd grade said I had the "gift of gab," but I don't think they meant it in a good way...

Query letters, blech! I write great ones in my head while I'm in the shower and then by the time I sit in front of my computer they are stiff and stale! Leeza writes great queries!