Don't MissSpring 2008

IRC Conference Coming March 13-15

Published authors and illustrators have until March 5, 2008, to take advantage of a great promotional opportunity – and you don’t even have to leave home to do it!

It is the 2008 Illinois Reading Council Conference to be held March 13-15 in Springfield, Illinois.

The spotlight will be on our membership this year. Fifty SCBWI-Illinois authors and

Continue reading IRC Conference Coming March 13-15

News RoundupSpring 2008

Readers, Start Your Engines!

Compiled by Tabitha Olson

Read Across America
The National Education Association is promoting Read Across America Day on March 3rd.  If you wish to participate, you can fill out a form, and they will post your plans on their website, which you may visit for more information. Continue reading Readers, Start Your Engines!

Don't MissSpring 2008

Sign Up Now for Words in the Woods

Words in the Woods Retreat
Having trouble developing a character? Creating the perfect setting? Stuck at the beginning or in the middle, or just can’t find the perfect ending to your story? Check out the Words in the Woods Retreat to be held June 20-22 in Cantrall, Illinois. Special guest speakers Spiderwick Chronicles author Holly Black, agent Barry

Continue reading Sign Up Now for Words in the Woods

Spring 2008guest experts

Digital Library Resources for Authors

By Lisa Chellman

I want to tell you a secret about public libraries.

It’s not meant to be a secret, but many people don’t know it, just the same. They think of their libraries as places to borrow books and music, attend story hours and book clubs. They don’t realize the incredible quantity and quality of information available via digital library resources. Continue reading Digital Library Resources for Authors

Spring 2008Writer's Bookshelf

Got Plot? And Don’t Forget the Structure

By Jenny Meyerhoff

Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish
By James Scott Bell
(Writer’s Digest Books, 2004)

If plot is what happens in a novel, then structure is when it happens. Or so says James Scott Bell in his book Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish. Bell, the author of many thrillers, knows first hand the need to keep his reader turning pages with a story that never lags but also achieves balance between scenes of high tension and scenes of reflection and reaction. In Plot and Structure he wants to help other writers create books that “work,” which he defines as books that “connect with readers.” Continue reading Got Plot? And Don’t Forget the Structure

Spring 2008book look

Books That Make You Go, “Oh!”

By Brenda Ferber

Picture Book Structure 101

Fancy Nancy
Written by Jane O’Connor; illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
(HarperCollins, 2006) Continue reading Books That Make You Go, “Oh!”

Critique Group TipsSpring 2008

Eek! How Do I Critique?

By Teresa Owens Smith

The very first time I was asked to critique was a “cold read” situation. Each member of our group had brought three new pages of a work-in-progress to read aloud. After each reading, the rest of the group took a few minutes to digest what they had heard. Then each of us made comments. Continue reading Eek! How Do I Critique?

HoroscopesSpring 2008

Nuggets from Nunki:Horoscopes for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

By Nunki Pelagus
Horoscopes for March 1 – April 30, 2008

Special offer!
What do “the stars” say about you? The first three people who send their first name, date, time and place of birth to nunki@inorbit.com will receive a brief overview of their birth chart, focusing on areas that reflect writing or illustrating skills. Please specify whether you are a writer or illustrator (or both) when making your request. Continue reading Nuggets from Nunki:Horoscopes for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Spring 2008guest experts

How Motivation Trumps Rejection

By Cynthia Horvath Garbutt

Sit at desk. Examine blank computer screen. Cursor blinks impatiently. Small fan hums within. Neighbor fires up leaf
blower. Mail truck rumbles by. Kid’s voice pierces closed door: “Matthew hit me!” Spouse opens door, mail in hand. Hands over two manila envelopes addressed to you in your own handwriting. Spouse wonders when you’ll be ready to quit. When indeed?
The Writer’s Book of Hope, Ralph Keyes

The icy cold that runs down your spine when those manila envelopes appear unwelcome at your door is like no other. Your mind races as to which editor/agent might be responding, and the uneasy thought always presses: Would they be using my SASE if they had liked it? And then the ice turns to steely resolve as you rip open yet another (while kind, and often even encouraging) rejection letter. Continue reading How Motivation Trumps Rejection

Spring 2008Writing Tips

What’s In A Name? (Part Two)

By Carmela Martino

In the first installment of this three-part series on character names, I promised that this time I’d talk about the naming process and share some naming tools.  As you may recall, my Part One column began with a list of unusual names from award-winning children’s books.  One character I missed was Holling Hoodhood, the main character in Gary D. Schmidt’s Newbery-honor book, The Wednesday Wars. In an online interview with Publisher’s Weekly, Schmidt talks about how he came up with Holling’s name, saying: Continue reading What’s In A Name? (Part Two)