Peg366's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Sharing Industry Trends

« on: August 28, 2010, 01:11 PM »

Whenever I am feeling like I should just stop writing, I come across something like this that renews my desire to write. It is nice to know that even the great writers have those times when it didn’t come easy. This appeared on Verlakay’s site and was posted by Stephanie Theban. Thanks Stephanie for sharing this.

I heard Phyllis Reynolds Naylor speak today.  She said that she used to say she had received a thousand rejections, and then she felt bad about it because she didn’t know if it was true.  She had her secretary go back and count them.  there were actually over 10,000. 

Ten thousand rejections.  She read a series from one editor who said things like, you don’t understand how to construct a story, I hate to see you spend so much energy on stories that won’t work, you can keep sending stories to me, but I won’t publish any of them until you learn something about story.

And as she said, a lot of acceptances.

It was a great reminder to perservere.


Stephanie Theban aka Leeth


Jill Corcoran Books


State of the Children’s Book Publishing Industry « Writing and Illustrating

Posted: 15 Jun 2010 12:48 PM PDT

I had a wonderful time at the SCBWI NJ conference, and hopefully will even sign a client or two. I was busy critiquing when David delivered his State of the Children’s Book Publishing Industry talk but now that Kathy has it up on her blog I wanted to share it all with you.

Art by the fabulous Jill Newton

Be sure to check out  She has such great advice.


Dialogue usually is a major part of your story, so making sure your dialogue works is very important.  Here are some things to consider when going through that first draft.

  1. 1.  Are you punctuating dialogue correctly, so that you neither confuse nor distract your readers?
  2. 2.  Are your characters speaking naturally, as they would in reality, but more coherently?
  3. 3.  Does every speech advance the story, revealing something new about the plot or the characters? If not, what is its justification?
  4. 4.  Are your characters so distinct in their speech–in diction, rhythm, and mannerism–that you rarely need to add “he said” or “she said”?

Dialogue has to sound like speech.  Most people don’t speak precisely or concisely enough to serve the writer’s needs. Good dialogue has several functions:

  • To convey exposition: to tell us, through the conversations of the characters, what we need to know to make sense of the story.
  • To convey character: to show us what kinds of people we’re dealing with.
  • To convey a sense of place and time: to evoke the speech patterns, vocabulary and rhythms of specific kinds of people.
  • To develop conflict: to show how some people use language to dominate others, or fail to do so.

Dialogue can convey character, but check to make sure you haven’t gotten bogged down in chatter that doesn’t advance the story.

Dialogue that conveys a specific place and time can become exaggerated and stereotyped.  Be careful.

Dialogue that develops conflict has to do so while also conveying exposition, portraying character, and staying true to the time and place.

Some Dialogue Hazards to Avoid:

  • Too much faithfulness to speech: “Um, uh, y’know, geez, well, like, well.”
  • Unusual spellings: “Yeah,” not “Yeh” or “Yea” or “Ya.”
  • Too much use of “he said,” “she said.”
  • Too much variation: “he averred,” “she riposted”
  • Dialect exaggeration: “Lawsy, Miz Scahlut, us’s wuhkin’ jes’ as fas’ as us kin.”
  • Excessive direct address: “Tell me, Marshall, your opinion of Vanessa.” “I hate her, Roger.” “Why is that, Marshall?” “She bullies everyone, Roger.”

Some Dialogue Conventions to Consider:

Each new speaker requires a new paragraph, properly indented and set off by quotation marks.

“Use double quotations,” the novelist ordered, “and remember to place commas and periods inside those quotation marks.”

“If a speaker goes on for more than one paragraph,” the count responded in his heavy Transylvanian accent, “do not close off the quotation marks at the end of the first paragraph.

“Simply place quotation marks at the beginning of the next paragraph, and carry on to the end of the quotation.”

Use “he said” expressions only when you must, to avoid confusion about who’s speaking.  Try to avoid signaling increasing tension by moving from “he said” to “he snapped,” to “he snarled,” to “he bellowed furiously.”  The dialogue itself should convey that changing mood, and make such comments needless.

Action as well as speech is a part of dialogue. We expect to know when the speakers pause, where they’re looking, what they’re doing with their hands, how they respond to one another. The characters’ speech becomes just one aspect of their interactions; sometimes their words are all we need, but sometimes we definitely need more. This is especially true when you’re trying to convey a conflict between what your characters say and what they feel: their nonverbal messages are going to be far more reliable than their spoken words.

Speak your dialogue out loud; if it doesn’t sound natural, or contains unexpected rhymes and rhythms, revise it.

Rely on rhythm and vocabulary, not phonetic spelling, to convey accent or dialect.

If you are giving us your characters’ exact unspoken thoughts, use italics. If you are paraphrasing those thoughts, use regular Roman type):

Now what does she want? he asked himself. Isn’t she ever satisfied? Marshall wondered what she wanted now. She was never satisfied.

If you plan to give us a long passage of inner monologue, however, consider the discomfort of having to read line after line of italic print. If you wish to emphasize a word in a line of italics, use Roman: Isn’t she ever satisfied?

Hope you find this helful.  Remember to share any tips you use to make your dialogue work.


5 Tips on Maximizing a Writers’ Conference‏
From: Writer’s Digest (
Sent: Wed 3/31/10 9:54 AM
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Planning to attend a writing conference? Read these five tips to ensure an experience you’ll savor long after you’ve left the hotel lobby. 

1. Choose sessions you find interesting
It’s no secret you need to know how to write a sparkling query, but you’re intrigued to find out how journaling can release your creative muse. Go for the muse. Hundreds of websites will be waiting at home to tell you how to write a query letter. Whenever you attend a lecture or reading, you never know what you’ll take away. That’s the beauty of being open to whatever information the speaker decides to bring.

2. Resist taking copious notes.
You’ll retain more when you are focused on listening, not rushing to take down every word leaving the speaker’s mouth. If your type-A personality insists, jot down inspiring bullet points you can hang above your desk. If you waste time taking a ton of notes, more likely you’ll miss the most important things being said and lose an opportunity to engage in the moment.

3. Mingle.
Walk around and talk with people between sessions. Find out what other writers are working on and get inspired by their imagination. During meals, sit at a table where you don’t know anyone or, if obligation demands you sit with your friends, invite someone you don’t know to sit at your table too. This is your chance to exchange ideas with other artists, so don’t be shy.

4. Talk less, listen more, and ask concise questions.
Don’t be “that guy” at the conference who is always in the midst of a 20-minute story outline. Don’t worry about impressing people. You’re here to ingest expert knowledge, not disseminate yours.

5. Bring at least one piece of your work.
Most conferences have open mic during the evening hours. Choose short pieces—shoot for 1,000 words in length or something that can be read comfortably in less than five minutes. It should be polished enough for public presentation, but be sure to bring something even if you write it specifically for the conference. Reading your work out loud builds self-confidence and helps transcend the fear of exposure common to so many of us writers.
Above all, remember the conference is the easy part. Writing is the real work that will be waiting when you return home. So enjoy yourself and let the conference energize your creative spirit; it will follow through in your writing.

This guest column was written by Jessica Monday, freelancer and aspiring novelist for the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents blog. For more conference tips and news, click here.

Just one more sleep!

2 days ago ago by katswhiskers. Spam? Tags: twitter, writing, Karen Collum, chat, Picture Books, Children’s Authors, #pblitchat, #KIDLITCHAT

Sometimes it amazes me how quickly things happen.

Last Wednesday, during #kidlitchat on Twitter, the lovely Karen Collum asked if any picture book authors would be interested in a Twitter chat for picture books only. I was… (she knew that) others were… (we hoped so) and now it’s happening (amazing!) – tomorrow! (If you want a job done, get Karen on board. She is ‘D’ynamite.)

I was delighted when Karen asked if I would co-host the #pblitchat with her. It’s something we’re both passionate about. And it’s also a natural extension of our growing communication about kidlit, picture books and life in general. (It’s really NOT just another excuse to tweet and email. Honest!)

If you’re a picture book author or illustrator, you are invited to join us. It gets a bit tricky advertising the times (because the chat is world wide) but check out the Picture Books Only web page for more specific times around the globe – and coming discussion topics.

One hour of chatter about picture books – the craft, the market, the passion… Count me in!

Just one more sleep…

Tuesdays at midday Queensland-time. On Monday for those in USA.


This is a great email that I subscribe to: Writing and Illustrating‏
From: on behalf of Writing and Illustrating (
Sent: Fri 2/19/10 10:10 AM

Writing and Illustrating


Tilbury House PublisherPosted: 18 Feb 2010 09:04 PM PST

Sometimes in our quest to get publish we forget about the smaller publishers out their accepting unsolicited manuscripts and unagented manuscripts.  Tilbury House is one of those small publishers.  You can go to: to look at the books they have published.  It looks like they do picture books, biographies, and young middle grade stories with a strong educational focus.  See below:

Children’s Books

They are primarily interested in children’s picture books (for ages 7-12) that:

  • Deal with issues of cultural diversity (global), nature, or the environment (they don’t publish “general” children’s books about animals, fables, or fantasy).
  • Appeal to children and parents and offer enough learning content so thatyour book will also appeal to the educational market.
  • Will sell to the national (not just regional) market
  • Offer possibilities for developing a separate teacher’s guide (written by an educator) that will expand the focus of the book, offer additional information, and suggest learning activities and approaches.
  • Be sure to check out Kathy Temean’s site and finish reading her post on Tilbury Press.

    ABC-ABA Potential Merger Update





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    This article originally appeared in PW’s Children’s Bookshelf. Sign up now!

    By Judith Rosen — Publishers Weekly, 2/4/2010 1:20:00 PM

    At the Association of Booksellers for Children’s board meetings held earlier this week, the organization took one more step closer to a possible merger with the American Booksellers Association, which was first raised close to a year ago.

    Although ABC president Elizabeth Bluemle, co-owner of the Flying Pig Book Store in Shelburne, Vt., cautioned that “the task forces still have a significant amount of work to do before bringing any final proposal to the membership,” ABC approached the ABA on Wednesday with specifics toward creating a proposal to bring to the membership. In making ABC a division of the ABA, the proposal takes into account changes in the publishing and bookselling climate, as well as programmatic, staffing, and oversight details as they would exist under the ABA structure.

    Since March, task forces for both organizations have met together and individually with their own boards to explore the feasibility of a merger. At the upcoming BEA in New York City, the ABC annual meeting will include a discussion of the proposal. A detailed plan will be presented for a vote in late summer or early fall prior to the 2011 fiscal year.

    I love reading PW. It keeps me in touch with what is happening in the field. You too can be in touch. Sign up for their newsletter and read all the great info with the click of a mouse.


    I am an aspiring picturebook writer with some magazine credits just no picture book contract yet. I know it is coming and I am more than willing to work for it.

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    July 2009

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    My Favorites:

    I love the children's movies Wizard of Oz and the Neverending Story. Both movies make me feel the lesson that hope is alive and well. After seeing UP this past week, it just might have a chance at being added to this list.

    I love the cool colors of blues and purples.Those colors are peaceful for me.

    I love The Velveteen Rabbit. Even as an adult, I still feel the urge to cry when he becomes real. I know, silly, but a good book can make me laugh and cry as it takes me on a magical journey.

    Authors and Illustrators:

    Authors, Author/Illustrator, Illustrators that I know and/or Like.


    C= Children

    MG= Mid Grade

    T= Teen

    YA= Young Adult

    A= Adult


    Bonnie Adamson *

    Kathi Appelt *

    Tedd Arnold


    Natalie Babbit

    Molly Bang

    Bonnie Becker

    Jan and Stan Berenstain

    Judy Blume

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    Linda Crotta Brennan *

    Jan Brett

    Janie Bynum *

    Eric Carle

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    Kevin Scott Collier

    Sharon Creech

    Doreen Cronnin

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    Kate DiCamillo

    Kathleen Duey *

    Dotti Enderle

    Jan Fields *

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    Mem Fox

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    Amy Heist

    Kevin Henkes

    Ellen Jackson *

    Jeff Kinney

    Jackie French Koller

    Ursula K. LeGuin

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    Mercer Mayer

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    Linda Sue Parks

    Dav Pilkey

    Patricia Polacco

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    David Shannon

    Aaron Shepard

    Donna J. Shepherd *

    Cynthia Leitich Smith

    Jerry Spinelli

    Diane Stanley

    Chris Van Allsburg

    Rick Walton *

    Lisa Wheeler

    Mo Willems

    Karma Wilson *

    Audrey Woods

    Jane Yolen *

    Favorite Websites:

    Favorite Blogs:

    • ShelfTalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog
    • Alice’s CWIM Blog
    • A Fuse #8 Production
    • Cynsations
    • Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent
    • Editorial Anonymous
    • Miss Snark’s First Victim
    • Writing for children and teens

    Favorite Quotes.

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