This issue first appeared three months ago in PDF format. The Prairie Wind comes out three times a year, on January 15, May 15, and September 15. At those times it is available only in PDF format and only for SCBWI members. Three months later it becomes open to all on the SCBWI-Illinois website. If you are a new member and want access to the current PDF during the period when it is available only to members, please email me, email@example.com.
If you have an idea for an article or would like to write an occasional column for the Prairie Wind, please contact me or Dana Easley, firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a great way to get published!
With this issue we bid a very sad farewell to one of our editors, Jeanne Becker, who is moving to Colorado. With her organizational and writing skills, Jeanne makes everything go smoothly. She even found her own replacement, Dana Easley. Welcome, Dana. Thank you, Jeanne, for all your help.
Susan Tarcov, Editor
Dana Wilson Easley, Managing Editor
Sara Shacter, Editorial Advisor
Christina Vasilakis, Webmistress
Winter 2013 Table of Contents
- Greeting: Alice McGinty tells us how an improv game called “Yes, and…” can help us in our writing and in our lives. “I recently found myself saying “yes” to line dancing and a pair of cowboy boots. Try saying “yes, and…” to new people, new activities, and new ideas. What will happen next? Who knows!”
- Tribute: Esther Hershenhorn remembers Dennis Fradin, author of The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine,. Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy, Bound for the North Star: True Stories of Fugitive Slaves, and Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, among other prize-winning books, who died on August 29.
- Illustrator in the Spotlight: MIchelle Kogan tells us about her life’s journey to children’s book illustration: “There I was, finally figuring out how important stories were to my painting, and it took me only two art degrees, numerous exhibits, working as a graphic designer, an art instructor, having two children, and taking out umpteen zillion picture books from the library to read and share with my kids.”
- Tales from the Front: Our tale of first publication comes from Meg Fleming, who got the good news while she was in LA attending an SCBWI conference: “I opened my inbox and to my surprise, an email with the word SUBMISSION was sitting at the top.”
- Classes: Included in our list of classes, retreats, and workshops, which June Sengpiehl keeps updated, is a new series at the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich on the art and craft of writing for children.
- News Roundup: Dana Wilson Easley has put together a list of events, awards, grant possibilities, and conferences.
- Don’t Miss: This year we won’t have to fly to New York or LA to have a three-day-conference experience. The Midwest SCBWI Conference in May will be held right next door in Ft. Wayne, IN.
- Writing Tips: M. Molly Backes wittily addresses the tricky problem of beginnings. She confides, “I wrote the beginning of this post last!”
- Illustrator Tips: Laura Nyman Montenegro explores the power of childhood memories: “Write them, draw them. Write with all the specific detail that you can. Draw what you see, what you feel. Let them be clumsy. They are mysterious and very real. Follow the taproot of memory to emotion, this is where the heart of story lies.”
- Writer’s Bookshelf: Lisa A. Gavin reviews James Alexander Thom’s The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction. She concludes: “The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction is an inspiring resource for authors taking their readers on a journey to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel what used to be.”
- Book Look: Jodell Sadler focuses on Patrick McDonnell’s The Monster’s Monster: “Monsters played it big on publishing lists this year . . . But The Monsters’ Monster stood out.”
- The Flourishing Writer (formerly The Irrepressible Writer): Those of you who have been following Carol Coven Grannick’s progress since she made the decision to stop focusing on publication (though not to stop writing) will be interested to learn about the latest stage in her journey: “There are a million ways to stay just distracted enough to keep on the surface. Even when you’re writing every day.”
- Promote That Book! Laura Ripes has some easy (or at least quite doable) ways to promote your book: “If anything, I’m hoping you’ll avoid the main mistake I made . . . procrastination!”
- Kidlitosphere: David Opie introduces us to Tumblr and again makes it all sound easy and doable. Particularly if you are an illustrator, check out his curated list of Tumblr blogs.
- A Fly on the Wall: Finally, a special treat. Whether or not you attended Prairie Writer’s Day in November, you will enjoy reading what a real fly on the wall thought of it: “I flapped my wings a few times and landed on a writer’s shoulder, figuring to just let her carry me wherever she was going. Which was a pretty great idea, because she went straight to the snack table. She grabbed a cookie, I grabbed a crumb.”
I hope the New Year finds all of you well. I hope, too, that you’ve found time to restock your creative storehouses and that you’re beginning 2013 full of new ideas, new goals, and lots of positive energy.
I’m feeling good about 2013. During 2012, I slowly moved through the struggles of adjusting to being single and have found my way back to writing again. Sometimes it feels like trudging through quicksand, but with a combination of stubborn determination and patience, ...
By Michelle Kogan
Early Years and Art Schools
Hop aboard! We’re going on a multicolored journey, through my interrelated art pursuits of illustration, painting, and writing. As a young child I was always creating, in crayon, paint, words, and pictures. I was also very encouraged; my mom was a spot illustrator, constantly reading with me, and is an artist. Therefore, my journey into art was relatively smooth. Upon ...
Continue Reading Journey with an Illustrator, Painter, and Writer
By Meg Fleming
August 2, 2012
O’Hare Airport—Kiss and Fly
Three yawny kids were snuggled into the back of our car. A taxi pulled away and my husband swerved into the tiny space like he was landing an aircraft. Minivan style. I pulled my license out of my wallet.
“I don’t really feel ready, this time.”
My plane would soon whisk me off to my fourth SCBWI National Conference in LA. In years past, I had specific goals for specific manuscripts, and although I ...
Continue Reading When Surprises Happen