HANGIN’ DAY & A Publishing Journey


 

NOW IN PRINT!

HANGIN’ DAY & A Publishing Journey

As writers, you understand that when someone says, “Tell me about your book.”, it’s a complex question. Not only do our books have inexplainable parts such as themes, plots twists, and glorious characters, the finished manuscript can go on a long and complicated journey on its own.

This is true about my book HANGIN’ DAY (title number four). This story has evolved into book #1 of my new middle grade mystery-adventure series, TROUBLE IN TEXAS. This manuscript has a long history. If publishing journeys bore you, I understand that your time is precious. For you, I’ll say keep writing and keep moving forward. Don’t ask why, just write it.

If you’re interested in the story behind the story…

The main character came to me in a dream, in part because of a question from my then elementary aged son. I saw a tough, skinny young girl with dark curly hair staring at a hangman’s platform. My son was studying westward expansion at the time and had asked about lawmen and hanging criminals in the Wild West. (Dinner conversation with our boys has proved to be an invaluable source for filling up my idea journal. Need inspiration? Take a kid to dinner and put the cell phones away.)

The lawless frontier has fascinated countless generations, and sentencing outlaws to hang is a real and horrible part of U.S. history. Law abiding citizens didn’t want to wait weeks, or sometimes even months, for the lawman to pass through town, so they administered justice themselves most especially to horse thieves.

As a life-long fan of historical novels, I wanted to write a humorous tale set in frontier Texas, that would be heavy with details of the time period to address my son’s questions and with enough action to hold a kids attention. The book was written during lunch breaks over a year’s time, and after edits from my awesome WS6 group, I felt it was ready to submit to contests. The story won 2nd in a contest, and then it won a face-to-face meeting with an agent at an SCBWI Oklahoma conference. The 15 minute ‘prize’ meeting with that literary agent was invaluable. He totally got the premise and characters of my story. I worked on his suggested revisions.

The next year I approached the same agent at a conference. He didn’t remember my name, but when I mentioned the characters, he remembered my book. He asked to see the revisions I’d made. We corresponded over several months and together worked to polish it even more. One day he emailed me with a question: “what other stories are you working on?”. Within 30 minutes I had an offer for representation, and just like that I had a literary agent who was shopping my books with publishers in New York City! Working on edits with someone who has read hundreds more kid lit books than I and who knows more about story structure than I’ll ever learn in my lifetime was an unforgettable experience. His suggestions were spot on. The book was finally the best it could be and I had a new found confidence in my writing abilities.

Silver Belle was on her way! That was 2013, four years after the spark. I waited AND I kept writing Book 2 and Book 3 of this series, plus freelance and wrote a coming-of-age novel for young adults. Except my middle grade series set in the Texas frontier never found a home in traditional publishing, nor did any of my other novels that he shopped during that time. My entire body of work was sinking into a deep, dark hole.

Rejection.

In an effort to keep it real for you, I’ll share a portion of the feedback I got over the years relating to the TROUBLE IN TEXAS series.

1) An editor told me at a conference that country kids don’t read that much and that I’m wasting time writing stories about farms and ranches and the frontier. Nobody wants to read those kinds of stories any more. (Unfortunately, the historical market continues to be a hard sell in kid lit these days.)

2) The marketing department will never be able to sell this book because it has no wide appeal.

3) Would I consider making the town sheriff a werewolf?

4) An agent stated that this story is unbelievable. It would be impossible for a twelve-year-old girl to accomplish the things my character does. Obviously, this from someone unaware of the abilities and chores required of farm and ranch kids. Taking a moment to shed light on the rural lifestyle, I grew up in a small-town but spent summers on my grandparent’s farm. I drove my Pappy’s tractor in Junior High, and my kids were doctoring cows, mowing the lawn, and driving the backhoe by about the same age.

I respected and greatly appreciated those who took the time to provide critiques. I carefully considered their suggestions. One horrible day I realized that my style of story telling had no place in the mainstream world of children’s literature. I write frontier Texas, horse and buggy, and Wild West adventures. I’ve read those kinds of stories my whole life. The reality of popular culture boils down to this: how can a feisty group of mystery-solving frontier kids ever compete against world apocalypse? My target market of readers is not on a world wide scale, but selective and unique.

Even at this point, I didn’t stop writing. Would you? There are too many ideas in my head to quit now. Here I am, back to square one it seems, to sink or swim as an Indie Author. I’m tackling the publishing business in different ways, and seeking new opportunities to find readers.

It is my belief that stories choose the writer.

Stories grow wings and fly because of us and the words we write. The characters we create really do exist to breathe, laugh, cry, and have adventures. We can’t ignore them. I hope readers love this black horse named Sweet Fury and these rowdy frontier kids as much as I do. The commotion in my head will not quite down…their adventures continue, just waiting on the writer to supply the wings.

TROUBLE IN TEXAS Series ~ Historical Middle Grade Adventures

Hangin’ Day Book 1

The Great Train Caper Book 2

Murder in the Morning Book 3

Natalie Cline Bright is a blogger and author of the fun, historical western TROUBLE IN TEXAS series for middle grades, the nonfiction RESCUE ANIMAL series, and is currently working on an action-packed novel for young adults, WOLF’S WAR. Read about Natalie’s grandmother and her cherry salad recipe, recently selected for “THE WESTERN WRITERS OF AMERICA COOKBOOK: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom” (TwoDot Publishing, June 2017). Go to her website nataliebright.com for buy links.

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HANGIN’ DAY & A Publishing Journey


 

NOW IN PRINT!

HANGIN’ DAY & A Publishing Journey

As writers, you understand that when someone says, “Tell me about your book.”, it’s a complex question. Not only do our books have inexplainable parts such as themes, plots twists, and glorious characters, the finished manuscript can go on a long and complicated journey on its own.

This is true about my book HANGIN’ DAY (title number four). This story has evolved into book #1 of my new middle grade mystery-adventure series, TROUBLE IN TEXAS. This manuscript has a long history. If publishing journeys bore you, I understand that your time is precious. For you, I’ll say keep writing and keep moving forward. Don’t ask why, just write it.

If you’re interested in the story behind the story…

The main character came to me in a dream, in part because of a question from my then elementary aged son. I saw a tough, skinny young girl with dark curly hair staring at a hangman’s platform. My son was studying westward expansion at the time and had asked about lawmen and hanging criminals in the Wild West. (Dinner conversation with our boys has proved to be an invaluable source for filling up my idea journal. Need inspiration? Take a kid to dinner and put the cell phones away.)

The lawless frontier has fascinated countless generations, and sentencing outlaws to hang is a real and horrible part of U.S. history. Law abiding citizens didn’t want to wait weeks, or sometimes even months, for the lawman to pass through town, so they administered justice themselves most especially to horse thieves.

As a life-long fan of historical novels, I wanted to write a humorous tale set in frontier Texas, that would be heavy with details of the time period to address my son’s questions and with enough action to hold a kids attention. The book was written during lunch breaks over a year’s time, and after edits from my awesome WS6 group, I felt it was ready to submit to contests. The story won 2nd in a contest, and then it won a face-to-face meeting with an agent at an SCBWI Oklahoma conference. The 15 minute ‘prize’ meeting with that literary agent was invaluable. He totally got the premise and characters of my story. I worked on his suggested revisions.

The next year I approached the same agent at a conference. He didn’t remember my name, but when I mentioned the characters, he remembered my book. He asked to see the revisions I’d made. We corresponded over several months and together worked to polish it even more. One day he emailed me with a question: “what other stories are you working on?”. Within 30 minutes I had an offer for representation, and just like that I had a literary agent who was shopping my books with publishers in New York City! Working on edits with someone who has read hundreds more kid lit books than I and who knows more about story structure than I’ll ever learn in my lifetime was an unforgettable experience. His suggestions were spot on. The book was finally the best it could be and I had a new found confidence in my writing abilities.

Silver Belle was on her way! That was 2013, four years after the spark. I waited AND I kept writing Book 2 and Book 3 of this series, plus freelance and wrote a coming-of-age novel for young adults. Except my middle grade series set in the Texas frontier never found a home in traditional publishing, nor did any of my other novels that he shopped during that time. My entire body of work was sinking into a deep, dark hole.

Rejection.

In an effort to keep it real for you, I’ll share a portion of the feedback I got over the years relating to the TROUBLE IN TEXAS series.

1) An editor told me at a conference that country kids don’t read that much and that I’m wasting time writing stories about farms and ranches and the frontier. Nobody wants to read those kinds of stories any more. (Unfortunately, the historical market continues to be a hard sell in kid lit these days.)

2) The marketing department will never be able to sell this book because it has no wide appeal.

3) Would I consider making the town sheriff a werewolf?

4) An agent stated that this story is unbelievable. It would be impossible for a twelve-year-old girl to accomplish the things my character does. Obviously, this from someone unaware of the abilities and chores required of farm and ranch kids. Taking a moment to shed light on the rural lifestyle, I grew up in a small-town but spent summers on my grandparent’s farm. I drove my Pappy’s tractor in Junior High, and my kids were doctoring cows, mowing the lawn, and driving the backhoe by about the same age.

I respected and greatly appreciated those who took the time to provide critiques. I carefully considered their suggestions. One horrible day I realized that my style of story telling had no place in the mainstream world of children’s literature. I write frontier Texas, horse and buggy, and Wild West adventures. I’ve read those kinds of stories my whole life. The reality of popular culture boils down to this: how can a feisty group of mystery-solving frontier kids ever compete against world apocalypse? My target market of readers is not on a world wide scale, but selective and unique.

Even at this point, I didn’t stop writing. Would you? There are too many ideas in my head to quit now. Here I am, back to square one it seems, to sink or swim as an Indie Author. I’m tackling the publishing business in different ways, and seeking new opportunities to find readers.

It is my belief that stories choose the writer.

Stories grow wings and fly because of us and the words we write. The characters we create really do exist to breathe, laugh, cry, and have adventures. We can’t ignore them. I hope readers love this black horse named Sweet Fury and these rowdy frontier kids as much as I do. The commotion in my head will not quite down…their adventures continue, just waiting on the writer to supply the wings.

TROUBLE IN TEXAS Series ~ Historical Middle Grade Adventures

Hangin’ Day Book 1

The Great Train Caper Book 2

Murder in the Morning Book 3

Natalie Cline Bright is a blogger and author of the fun, historical western TROUBLE IN TEXAS series for middle grades, the nonfiction RESCUE ANIMAL series, and is currently working on an action-packed novel for young adults, WOLF’S WAR. Read about Natalie’s grandmother and her cherry salad recipe, recently selected for “THE WESTERN WRITERS OF AMERICA COOKBOOK: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom” (TwoDot Publishing, June 2017). Go to her website nataliebright.com for buy links.

HANGIN’ DAY & A Publishing Journey


 

NOW IN PRINT!

HANGIN’ DAY & A Publishing Journey

As writers, you understand that when someone says, “Tell me about your book.”, it’s a complex question. Not only do our books have inexplainable parts such as themes, plots twists, and glorious characters, the finished manuscript can go on a long and complicated journey on its own.

This is true about my book HANGIN’ DAY (title number four). This story has evolved into book #1 of my new middle grade mystery-adventure series, TROUBLE IN TEXAS. This manuscript has a long history. If publishing journeys bore you, I understand that your time is precious. For you, I’ll say keep writing and keep moving forward. Don’t ask why, just write it.

If you’re interested in the story behind the story…

The main character came to me in a dream, in part because of a question from my then elementary aged son. I saw a tough, skinny young girl with dark curly hair staring at a hangman’s platform. My son was studying westward expansion at the time and had asked about lawmen and hanging criminals in the Wild West. (Dinner conversation with our boys has proved to be an invaluable source for filling up my idea journal. Need inspiration? Take a kid to dinner and put the cell phones away.)

The lawless frontier has fascinated countless generations, and sentencing outlaws to hang is a real and horrible part of U.S. history. Law abiding citizens didn’t want to wait weeks, or sometimes even months, for the lawman to pass through town, so they administered justice themselves most especially to horse thieves.

As a life-long fan of historical novels, I wanted to write a humorous tale set in frontier Texas, that would be heavy with details of the time period to address my son’s questions and with enough action to hold a kids attention. The book was written during lunch breaks over a year’s time, and after edits from my awesome WS6 group, I felt it was ready to submit to contests. The story won 2nd in a contest, and then it won a face-to-face meeting with an agent at an SCBWI Oklahoma conference. The 15 minute ‘prize’ meeting with that literary agent was invaluable. He totally got the premise and characters of my story. I worked on his suggested revisions.

The next year I approached the same agent at a conference. He didn’t remember my name, but when I mentioned the characters, he remembered my book. He asked to see the revisions I’d made. We corresponded over several months and together worked to polish it even more. One day he emailed me with a question: “what other stories are you working on?”. Within 30 minutes I had an offer for representation, and just like that I had a literary agent who was shopping my books with publishers in New York City! Working on edits with someone who has read hundreds more kid lit books than I and who knows more about story structure than I’ll ever learn in my lifetime was an unforgettable experience. His suggestions were spot on. The book was finally the best it could be and I had a new found confidence in my writing abilities.

Silver Belle was on her way! That was 2013, four years after the spark. I waited AND I kept writing Book 2 and Book 3 of this series, plus freelance and wrote a coming-of-age novel for young adults. Except my middle grade series set in the Texas frontier never found a home in traditional publishing, nor did any of my other novels that he shopped during that time. My entire body of work was sinking into a deep, dark hole.

Rejection.

In an effort to keep it real for you, I’ll share a portion of the feedback I got over the years relating to the TROUBLE IN TEXAS series.

1) An editor told me at a conference that country kids don’t read that much and that I’m wasting time writing stories about farms and ranches and the frontier. Nobody wants to read those kinds of stories any more. (Unfortunately, the historical market continues to be a hard sell in kid lit these days.)

2) The marketing department will never be able to sell this book because it has no wide appeal.

3) Would I consider making the town sheriff a werewolf?

4) An agent stated that this story is unbelievable. It would be impossible for a twelve-year-old girl to accomplish the things my character does. Obviously, this from someone unaware of the abilities and chores required of farm and ranch kids. Taking a moment to shed light on the rural lifestyle, I grew up in a small-town but spent summers on my grandparent’s farm. I drove my Pappy’s tractor in Junior High, and my kids were doctoring cows, mowing the lawn, and driving the backhoe by about the same age.

I respected and greatly appreciated those who took the time to provide critiques. I carefully considered their suggestions. One horrible day I realized that my style of story telling had no place in the mainstream world of children’s literature. I write frontier Texas, horse and buggy, and Wild West adventures. I’ve read those kinds of stories my whole life. The reality of popular culture boils down to this: how can a feisty group of mystery-solving frontier kids ever compete against world apocalypse? My target market of readers is not on a world wide scale, but selective and unique.

Even at this point, I didn’t stop writing. Would you? There are too many ideas in my head to quit now. Here I am, back to square one it seems, to sink or swim as an Indie Author. I’m tackling the publishing business in different ways, and seeking new opportunities to find readers.

It is my belief that stories choose the writer.

Stories grow wings and fly because of us and the words we write. The characters we create really do exist to breathe, laugh, cry, and have adventures. We can’t ignore them. I hope readers love this black horse named Sweet Fury and these rowdy frontier kids as much as I do. The commotion in my head will not quite down…their adventures continue, just waiting on the writer to supply the wings.

TROUBLE IN TEXAS Series ~ Historical Middle Grade Adventures

Hangin’ Day Book 1

The Great Train Caper Book 2

Murder in the Morning Book 3

Natalie Cline Bright is a blogger and author of the fun, historical western TROUBLE IN TEXAS series for middle grades, the nonfiction RESCUE ANIMAL series, and is currently working on an action-packed novel for young adults, WOLF’S WAR. Read about Natalie’s grandmother and her cherry salad recipe, recently selected for “THE WESTERN WRITERS OF AMERICA COOKBOOK: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom” (TwoDot Publishing, June 2017). Go to her website nataliebright.com for buy links.

Top Ten from SCBWI-OK 2014


Top Ten from SCBWI-OK 2014

Natalie Bright

 

The Oklahoma chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators held a meeting in Oklahoma City. If you aspire to write stories for children, this group is a must. www.scbwi.org

SCBWI hosts a huge con in August in LA and a NYC con in February of every year. If you’re low on funds or time and can’t make the journey, consider attending one of the local workshops close to you. I usually make at least one of the Oklahoma meetings every year, which is just up the interstate from where I live. Time and family are the issues for me, but several nights away is doable. Sure you could go shopping or take a vacation, but how about making an investment in your writing career instead?

You’ll meet creative writers, editors, agents, come away with tons of inspiration, and find new friends who love stories just as much as you do. Now here’s the big secret that only conference goers know: most of the big publishing houses are closed to un-agented submissions but these editors make an exception for attendees when they speak. They’re furnished with a list of names and those people can submit a manuscript and bypass the slush pile. Did you get that? You have to go. It’s only for those who attend the meeting. What a fantastic opportunity!

Here’s my top ten from SCBWI Oklahoma 2014:

  1. Twist the cliché character and turn what we’ve already seen on it’s side. Tricia Lawrence, Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
  2. Have you considered the visual language of comics? They can say one thing and show the opposite. Colleen AF Venable, FirstSecond Books.
  3. Figure out your character’s pain point. Ask them questions, and then torture them. Tricia Lawrence, Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
  4. Use family to create characters. Family dynamics shows a character as who they really are. Andrew Harwell, Harper Collins.
  5. Study the work of craft. Not just reading. Take it apart and look at stories from a writer’s perspective. Melissa Manlove, Chronicle Children’s.
  6. Trend chasing books usually fall flat. Challenge yourself to look outside your day-to-day existence. Which truths would make great fiction? Kristen Miller-Vincent, D4E0 Literary Agency.
  7. Family relationships can bring more emotion to create empathy and sympathy for your character. Andrew Harwell, Harper Collins.
  8. Give your character an objective in each scene. Pit them against an obstacle. Liza Kaplan, Philomel Books.
  9. Use those familiar family conflicts that we’ve all experienced, but amp them by 1000 times for your book. Andrew Harwell, Harper Collins.
  10. Your brain is a machine made for generating ideas and ideas come to writers like lightening bolts. More importantly, it is the lightening bolt that hits somebody who has been habitually cranking the generator. Those are the best ones. Melissa Manlove, Chronicle.

Thanks to SCBWI Oklahoma for a great conference. I can hardly wait until September!

nataliebright.com

SCBWI


SCBWI

By Natalie Bright

Do you know about this group?  If you aspire to write for children, this group is a MUST.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is an international professional organization with over 70 regions throughout the world. Closest to my area, I try to attend at least one regional conference every year.

One Day of Inspiration

The recent North Texas conference in September proved to be an inspirational day with creative writers. The tools shared for story craft were exceptional, and the presentations were well worth my time and travel expense. The main reason I made the trip to Dallas several weeks ago was to hear the founder of SCBWI.

Lin Oliver organized the very first children’s writers conference along with co-worker Steve Mooser, in 1972. Before that, there wasn’t any resources for writers who wanted to craft stories for children. Lin knows this because she tried to find one. A managing board was formed from the faculty who provided how-to talks on craft to about fifty people. Lin mentioned that her own mother made the potato salad for that first gathering. Today SCBWI has grown to 25,000 members representing regions all over the world. From an organization with beginnings in volunteerism, friendship and a great love for children’s literature, SCBWI has become a powerful force in the field.

WHY?

Participating in an organization is important for your writing career. Not only can you stay updated on market trends, story craft techniques, and the publishing bizz in general, you can talk to other writers. There’s nothing more inspiring than lunch with 100+ children’s authors. The creative energy is electrifying, and you’ll come home armed with confidence and with renewed energy to keep writing.

For more information go to scbwi.org.

 

 

Writing Cons: What to Expect


Writing Cons: What to Expect

by Natalie Bright

 

Writing conferences are no doubt a huge commitment in money, not to mention the time away from family and home. I’ve often heard more than one writer say that their efforts can be better spent at their desk. No doubt about that. Who needs another distraction?

Yet every writers’ conference I’ve attended teaches me something new. And no matter how much I dread the packing and the traveling, or how many times I wonder what in the heck I was thinking, I always feel motivated and thankful after taking part in the event. For example, there’s the recent Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators spring conference, which I attended in Tulsa, Oklahoma several weeks ago. In case you’ve ever wondered what’s the take-away from a writing conference for children’s authors, I’ll review some of the topics covered.

Cheering on Your Cause

Regional Director, Anna Myers, welcomed the group by reminding us that we are all a group of believers: “believers in stories and believers in each other”. Sitting in a room of over one hundred creatives left little room for doubt that there was magic in the air. You can’t help but feel inspired.

Insight

The first presentation was by an Associate Art Director who gave an informative power point on the illustrating process. From selecting the artist, to initial sketches, decisions on word placement, and selection of the final cover based on multiple samples by an illustrator and narrowing down the final look with author input. The creative process is a mystery to most of us after it leaves the writers hands. The insight into this procedure was enthralling.

A typical editor’s day is always interesting, which was the topic of the next session. Writers tend to disappear into our world of every day life and our fictional stories, so its good to be reminded that there’s a whole world of business to this business. I realized that publishing takes a team of professionals who believe in the same vision. A writers’ manuscript is where it begins and a book, that everyone is proud of is, the end result.

Story Craft

The process of creating early chapter books was presented by a Scholastic editor.  This detailed review included the finer points of what makes early chapter books so appealing to beginning readers, and so difficult to craft for writers.

Picture books were the main focus of a talk by an editor with HarperCollins.  The differences between the specific genres in children’s literature always leaves me much to think about. It is a complex process as writers try to determine where to go with that spark. Picture book, or maybe an early chapter book, or can this manuscript be expanded into a middle reader?  The possibilities are endless, yet all are so very unique. There’s no one better to explain the differences than an acquiring editor.

Inspiration

A literary agent closed out the day by reminding us to keep going, chase our dreams, never give up. Despite the rejection and rewrites and the distractions of life, I was reminded that successful authors keep pushing themselves to write, to learn story craft.

In between sessions, I talked to other writers about finding agents, working with editors, and all things related to this crazy business. I heard about the struggles, the sparks, the successes, and I came away inspired to keep writing and to believe in a dream. I also came away with a ton of hope that these writers will keep going, because I can hardly wait to read their stories. So many great ideas in one place is contagious!

To find a group for children’s writers near you, check out the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators website at www.scbwi.org.

www.nataliebright.com

Pitch Perfect


Pitch Perfect

By Natalie Bright

Perfecting a Story’s Pitch

At a recent Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators meeting in Oklahoma City, those attending had the opportunity to turn in a 60-word pitch, which were then picked at random and read out loud.  The conference faculty offered their thoughts and suggestions.

Based on the comments and feedback, I’ve compiled a list of the main instruction for making your pitch’s perfect for editors and agents:

* Informative

* Tell us about your story succinctly

* Be direct and concise without being cryptic

* Not too detailed

* “kid” perspective if you are writing a children’s story; be careful of word choice

* Not mysterious or extranious words, just get to the point

* Not too eloquent or flowery

* In a nutshell, what kind of journey

* Do not use cliché’s

* Not too vague

* Be careful with technology references; it becomes very outdated in a short time

Writer’s “Voice” Defined


 

Writer’s “Voice” Defined

By Natalie Bright

Children’s writers gathered in Oklahoma City at the end of March for the SCBWI-Oklahoma chapter’s annual Spring conference. The delightful Regional Advisor, Anna Myers, and her volunteers put together an informative and inspiring day.

More than one presenter elaborated on “voice”; the thing that some writers seem to come by naturally, and the rest of us wonder where in the heck the line is to get one.  Several of the speakers helped shed some light on this elusive muse.

Authorial or Narrative

“Editors are always looking for strong, new voices,” said Krista Marino, Executive Editor at Delacorte. She explained that there is an authorial voice and a narrative voice. Authorial being the distinctive finger print that an author might put on one’s work, and the kind that passes from one piece to the next. A narrative voice is what a reader remembers when she reads the book and this is what editors are looking for.

Maggie Lehrman, Sr. Editor with Amulet/Abrams Books, noted that a strong voice for her represents memorable characters, plus style and diction all rolled together. “Care is taken in language and word choice, and there is a rhythm that is unique in some way.”

One of a Kind Voice

Noa Wheeler, editor at Henry Holt, read a passage from one of my all-time favorites, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. She said, “The language in this story makes us wonder at the magic.”

It wasn’t that long ago that I had read Tuck Everlasting for the second time. As an adult the words and the story made an impression.  Hearing Wheeler read out loud, the words absolutely blew me away. There is no mistaking  the “voice” which was made even more unique by the rhythm of the words and how each word fit together in a unique way.

Finding YOUR Voice

As a children’s writer, I particularly appreciated the closing advice from Marino. “Erase the worldliness of your life,” she said. “Find the smallness of their world. Remember the protag doesn’t have a wealth of experiences to draw from.”

Lehrman urged us to draw out what’s unique in our own particular story. “Passion and heart must come through to your words. Find the right tone, speak to a kid’s experiences and have fun.”

I think agent, Marietta Zacker, summed the day up perfectly during the afternoon session when she said, “Use the experiences that are real to you, because you’ve felt them. Write and illustrate what you know to be true, not just what you know.”

Here’s Your To Do’s:

Do re-read the classics in children’s literature.

Do read the new releases too.

Do plan to attend an SCBWI regional conference near you.  http://www.scbwiok.org

Do stay connected with the people you’ve exchanged business cards.

Do keep writing!

Natalie Bright