Monday, October 20, 2014

Rejecting Rejection: Just say, “baaaaaah” to rejection

Feeling frustrated about the long wait times to hear back from editors? Why wait endlessly for an editor’s rejection when you can write your very own? That’s what I did in this write-yourself-a-rejection “assignment.” (My critique group often gives unique assignments such as this to get creative and let off steam.)

Enjoy! And please comment below with your own favorite fun-to-decipher (real or imagined) editorial comments.

Here’s my letter to myself:

Dear You-Wish-You-Were-a-Writer,

We regret the need to send you this form letter for your recent submission.
We don’t want your story.
We don’t want you to revise it.
We don’t want to see it or hear from you again.
Sorry to be so blunt, but we’ve been accused of being unclear in the past.
However, since we kept your story longer than: (circle one)

Longer than the submission guidelines on our website

Longer than we stated in the SCBWI or CWIM market guides

Longer than is necessary, reasonable, humane

Longer than 3 years

Longer than the postal rate on your SASE (that’s why this letter is coming to you postage due)

All of the above

Okay, so we kept it too long!

Since we kept your manuscript so long we thought you’d enjoy a personal note from a real live editor for you to endlessly ponder. Here goes:   

Dear Author,
We passed your story around the office for months, I mean years on end and everyone got a chuckle, especially the janitor. But what’s with the talking bees? Haven’t you ever attended an SCBWI conference? Don’t you know we don’t like talking animals? And while we say that we don’t want rhyme, even though your story does not rhyme, perhaps my underlying message is you might want to try rhyme? 

Still, the janitor liked it so if you want to submit to him in the future, feel free. He just got a new pet goat (that talks by the way). He brings Gertie to work most nights so we should be getting through the slush pile much faster from now on.   
Sincerely yours,

Emily Editor

** No real goats, janitors or editors were harmed in the writing of this blog post. All goats, editors and janitors mentioned here are completely fictitious. Any resemblance to real goats, janitors or editors is purely coincidental.

When I joined The Revisionaries critique group none of The Revisionaries were published. Now we all are. The Revisionaries often give each other random assignments to let loose and keep creative.

When I originally wrote the above rejection letter to myself, I was also unpublished. Now I have the following books to my name, including a story with talking bees! 

This blog post is also posted on The Writing Barn's Rejecting Rejection series:
Thanks, Bethany for including me.

Forecast: Chances of intermittent rejection, with steady times of creativity, humor, heart & hope!
Just say, “baaaaaah” to rejection!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lee & Low New Voices Award for writers of color: Manuscripts accepted through September 30, 2014

This is cool!
Lee & Low New Voices Award for writers of color:
Check it out. Manuscripts will be accepted through September 30, 2014.
Our fourteenth annual New Voices Award writing contest is now open for submissions!

The Award is given annually by LEE & LOW BOOKS for a children's picture book manuscript by a writer of color. The contest encourages writers of color to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. Past winners include Bird by Zetta Elliott and It Jes' Happened by Don Tate.

Contest Submission
Writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a children's picture book published are eligible.

The Award winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500.

Manuscripts will be accepted through September 30, 2014. See the full submissions guidelines here and answers to some FAQ's about the contest here.

Spread the Word
Did you know that last year, books written by authors of color made up less than seven percent of the total number of books published (see these CCBC stats)?

Change requires more than just goodwill; it requires concrete action. We were heartened by First Book's recent commitment to purchasing 10,000 copies of select books from "new and underrepresented voices." Likewise, the New Voices Award is a concrete step towards evening the playing field by seeking out talented new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing.

Take a look at Arree Chung's and Kristin Aker Howell's Thoughts on the Writing Process Author Blog Tour

Dear Imaginary Readers,
Head on over to Arree Chung's and Kristin Aker Howell's blogs to check out their posts on The Writing Process Author Blog Tour.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

My dear Imaginary Readers, 
Please imagine I’ve been blogging regularly, okay?

Thanks to Frances Lee Hall for tagging me for the Writing Process Blog Tour (and reminding me I have a blog!)  
Okay, onward to the writing process questions!

What am I currently working on?
I am multi-tasking as usual, working on a few projects in different children’s book genres. I’m revising a couple of picture books, one about a cat that might or might not be real.

I’m also diving back into a middle grade novel with a supporting character whose friend might be imaginary. I guess I am working through my own creative imagination process!?

I’ve also been taking a poetry class this spring. I’d made it through high school, my undergraduate career and two masters degrees without ever taking a poetry class—until now that is. Needless to say, it’s challenging but I’m learning a lot. I’m stretching my comfort zone which is always a good thing.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
First off, I write in various genres: picture books, young chapter books, middle grade and young adult. In all of these, I tend to include both younger and older characters, often in an extended family, alternative family or community. Whatever the genre, I aim to write stories filled with humor and heart.

Why do I write what I write?
I don’t seem to have a choice. The characters, ideas and stories come to me and inspire me, but often in incomplete form. My job is to try to capture the heart of the characters and figure out their story or journey on the page.

How does my individual writing process work?
It’s often a puzzle. I’ll have the snippet of an idea that intrigues me, or perhaps a spunky character, a unique question or line of dialogue, or an interesting opening scene. I’ll start writing to see how the scene develops and explore what the characters have to tell me. Then of course, I keep writing more scenes. Once I’ve captured the first draft, I revise, revise, revise, share my work with my trusted critique partners, then revise and revise again.

Who's next? Tag you are it!
Okay, I'm tagging the very talented Arree Chung. Just wait until you see the cool video he made for his book, Ninja! Arree will post his responses next Monday May, 19th

Arree makes picture books but he didn’t always do so. Once he made spreadsheets all day long and he decided that he wanted to make pictures instead. Arree learned how to draw, paint and think a little bit differently at Art Center College of Design.

In the past decade, Arree has worked in the games industry as a designer and Art Director. Arree’s first debut picture book, “Ninja!” publishes June 3rd, 2014. When Arree is not practicing his Ninja moves, you can find him playing basketball or riding his bike.

Tag #2, who's next? Tag you are also it, Kristin Aker Howell!
I'm also tagging Kristin Aker Howell. 

Kristin Aker Howell currently enjoys her job as Teacher Librarian at Ohlone Elementary School In Palo Alto. She has co-written a few musicals produced at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, and published a couple of personal essays. Her short story, Bondo, won an honorable mention in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open. Kristin earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University where she developed a deep appreciation for the revision process, which she continues to practice on her many manuscripts for children and young adults. Kristin is searching for a cure to her bad case of stripes. It is definitely not lima beans. 

While we await Kristin's & Arree's posts, please click below to see more authors on the tour.

If you are on the tour and I missed you above, please feel free to leave a link in the comments. Thanks!

Forecast: More writing with a chance of blogging?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dear Imaginary Readers,
I've been away a bit. Yes, writing.
I've also been busy here in San Francisco planning and creating The Writing Garden--where creativity blooms & grows.
To find more info about The Writing Garden: 

This week, I'm offering 3 different 3-hour classes.
I hope you can join me. All classes & workshops are open to aspiring as well as experienced writers.

Beyond the Basics: The Craft of Writing Picture Books
Wed. June 20, 2012
3 hours in one evening
6:30-9:30 p.m

Introduction to Writing the Middle Grade or Young Adult Novel
Saturday June 23rd
3 hours on a Saturday morning
9:00 a.m.- noon

Writing Prompt-a-Palooza
Saturday June 23rd
3 hours on a Saturday afternoon
1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m

Subscribe to the mailing list to hear about future classes here:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stanford Continuing Studies: What's My Genre? Finding Your Voice in Children's Literature

Dear Imaginary Readers,

Please join us for a 3-day workshop:

What's My Genre? Finding Your Voice in Children's Literature

3 Saturdays, Oct. 22-Nov. 5, 2011 (Register at the link above. We'd love to see you there)

Children’s publishing presents a vast array of writing opportunities, with many genres to consider: picture books, chapter books, middle grade, poetry, fantasy, and young adult fiction. Many important questions face an aspiring writer of children’s literature. When discovering their own genre and voice, writers must consider: What age is the main character? How old is the intended audience? What’s currently being published? Over three Saturdays, this course will introduce students to exemplary titles that showcase the unique qualities of various genres. Through fun and absorbing in-class writing exercises, students will begin to discover their own voices while exploring various genres in children’s literature.

The course is open to aspiring as well as experienced writers, and students may bring five pages of their work-in-progress for discussion in the workshop.

Elissa Haden Guest, Author

Elissa Haden Guest is the author of numerous children’s books, most recently the picture book, Harriet’s Had Enough!. Books in her ten-book early reader series, Iris and Walter, have been named Junior Library Guild Selections, an ALA Notable Book, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a PEN Center USA West Literary Award.

Lynn E. Hazen, Author

Lynn Hazen is the author of the young adult novel, Shifty, which was named on VOYA’s Top Shelf Fiction list, and was a CCBC Choice and a Smithsonian Notable. Her other books include Mermaid Mary Margaret, Cinder Rabbit, The Amazing Trail of Seymour Snail, and Buzz Bumble to the Rescue. She received an MA in education from San Francisco State and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Join Seymour Snail and his author, Lynn Hazen at SF MOMA Family Sunday on 9/18! (Kids under 12 are free!)

Seymour Snail, the world famous artist, is sliming his way to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this Sunday September 18th (along with his author, Lynn Hazen) for Family Sunday at SF MOMA!

Come join the family fun!

11:30 a.m. Reading of The Amazing Trail of Seymour Snail & Author Talk at the Koret Center (2nd floor)

12:30 p.m. Book Signing at the SF MOMA Museum Store

1:00 on Be sure to join us in the Koret Studios (2nd floor) after 1 p.m. for a chance to work with Lynn to create your own Amazing Trail book mark and multi-media snail in the Koret Studios.

Lynn E. Hazen writes children's and young adult books filled with humor, heart and hope. Lynn's books for younger readers include: The Amazing Trail of Seymour Snail, Cinder Rabbit, (both young chapter books), Buzz Bumble to the Rescue (a picture book), & Mermaid Mary Margaret (a middle grade novel). She has also written a young adult novel called Shifty. Inspiration often comes from her own kids as well as the exuberant children she encounters as a preschool director.

More About Family Sundays at SF MOMA:

Every Sunday
Kids get in FREE!

11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Family tour at 1:00 p.m.

Explore art, create your own, travel to virtual worlds, get hands-on, discover special places, be inspired. That’s just a hint at the fun we have in store for you on Family Sundays. Moderators guide participatory art projects, and docents lead family-friendly gallery tours. Special programs like book readings and movie screenings round it all out. Look. Think. Create. That's the plan for Family Sunday. See the Family Sundays page for details.

Program and museum admission are free for children 12 and under. Regular admission applies for adults and students.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art