Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Boot Camp was Amazing!

I just returned from Lisa Wheeler's Picture Book Boot Camp and it was fantastic!  I'm so glad I could be there.  Lisa has so many terrific picture books that it's impossible to pick one favorite.  I'm a huge fan of hers!  I love One Dark Night, Turk and Runt and Porcupining, A Prickly Love Story - just to name a few.  Lisa is also an amazing presenter.  She supplied us with terrific examples of each topic covered which helped so much with soaking it all in.  The weekend was over way too quickly.  I can't wait to apply everything to all of the manuscripts I wrote for the marathon this past month.  Many thanks to Lisa - and the fabulous SCBWI planning committee - for a job well done!  If you've considered attending one of her workshops - do it!  You'll be so glad you did.

The weekend began at the children's museum with a presentation by illustrator Robin Luebs.  Robin spoke about the journey she and her sister Deborah Ruddell took with the publication of their book Who Said Coo? published by Beach Lane Books.  This is such a darling book.  My youngest son and I read it before bed the night I got home.  He loved the illustrations so much that he kept turning pages back to see them again.  I'm so glad that he loved the facial expressions on these darling characters as much as I did.  She also led us in an illustration exercise that was so fun.  We were given a first line of a picture book and told to make the illustration with tissue paper.  Of course it was timed.   Here's how mine turned out.  It really made me think about illustrations in a whole new way.  Thanks Robin!  

Another boot camp highlight were the critiques.  We were all assigned to a small critique group prior to the conference.  Everyone did written critiques for each other and then we had a breakout session together.  The brainstorming as a group was fantastic!   This happened after learning all day Saturday from Lisa.  It was so interesting to see how that changed things for everyone.  Very valuable.  Lisa also provided everyone with a fantastic written critique as well as meetings with each small group. 

Amazing conference!   Can't wait to tackle my manuscripts. 

Highlights High Five - coming soon...

I just received word that my poem "Jack-o'-Lantern" will be appearing in the October issue of Highlights High Five.  Hooray!  Be sure to check it out at your local bookstore or library.  I always look forward to seeing their illustrations.  It's such a fun surprise! 

I did it!

The Picture Book Marathon is officially over.  I am very proud to report that I completed the marathon with 26 new manuscripts!  This was such a great experience and I learned so much.   I definitely plan to participate next year.  And if you're one of those people that's been thinking about it, but afraid to commit...I say give it a try.  You won't regret it.

Thanks so much for all of the support from my writer friends and from my family.  My parents are the best cheerleaders a girl could ever hope for.  Before this all started they surprised me with a cute pink marathon t-shirt and a big box of chocolates.  A piece for each day that I completed a manuscript.  (In March I'm going on a diet.)  And my mom sent daily e-mails to keep me motivated.  ;-)

My husband and kiddos were really great too.  Didn't let me get lazy.  Let me have my writing time, even at night.  And the kids were so into it that they were coming up with new ideas for me too.  Then I'd hear "Mom, did you write about ____ yet?  That will be a really good one."  They also endured endless nights of take-out and frozen dinners.  (I'm really going on a diet in March.)  Thank you guys - love you!