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, June 16, 2008

Regina Griffin at the NJ SCBWI June Conference

OK onto the next topic from the NJ SCBWI June Conference...

Anyone out there attend Regina Griffin's session?

Regina Griffin has been an editor for about 25 years. She is now starting up the US portion of Egmont, a well known UK publishing house.

Regina Griffin, laughing along side agent, Linda Pratt

She is actively seeking MG and YA novels. And check this out... she WANTS debut writers! Exciting news for many of us! However, according to their web page, they are not taking unsolicited MSs. So all of you out there who attended the NJ SCBWI June conference, consider this an open door that would otherwise be closed and send, send, send. Make sure to write in the subject line you attended the NJ SCBWI June conference.

Books she recommends: Harriet, the Spy... The Penderwicks...

What attracts her: a distinctive voice.

What interests her: quirky, inventive, interesting characters

Query No-no's: I read it to my kids and they loved it! (I agree, blech!)

One of her favorite first lines: "Where you going with that ax dad?" (Fern from Charlotte's Web)

She said imagine if it had been instead... " Fern had long brown hair and an inquisitive nature..."

Ratios to keep in mind: although the remainder of your novel might be requested, 80% of those are then rejected. :(

The one thing she said that haunts me is this... "When I first started in this career, we used to get, say, 30 manuscripts and 27 of them were really bad, so 3 got published. Now, say, I get 30 manuscripts and 27 of them are excellent, but still, only 3 can get published."

It makes you realize how far children's writers have come in 25 years. We have honed our craft, recognized that this is a separate and different talent than writing adult novels, and as a result, have made it incredibly difficult to become published! But as I was once told, if you never give up, you will prevail...

So what about you? What were your take-aways from Regina Griffin? Please share...


Patricia Koelmel said...

While I did not attend Regina's session, I did attend a first-page session with her. I was immediately impressed with her knowledge and learned a great deal from her as she commented on each first page. I was particularly thrilled when she commented favorably on mine.

Sheri said...

She seemed very nice and approachable, didn't she...

Jeanne said...

I thought she was tremendous as well, and I was in a first page session with her, too, next to Pat as a matter of fact! Her reactions to my first page were very favorable, and that was great to hear. (It was my rewrite of Maya as a chapter book.) I thought her insights overall were truly helpful on everyone's first pages - and she had a great, wry sense of humor as well.

Sheri said...

That's awesome Jeanne! I didn't find my first page so enlightening. But I didn't have it wiht Regina...

M.P. Barker said...

I can vouch for Regina's skill as an editor. My MS needed something more, but I just couldn't figure out what it was. She totally nailed everything that needed fixing and did it in a positive, constructive manner. The final book is miles better than it started. She's fabulous!

M.P. Barker
Historical fiction from Holiday House