"Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book." - Stéphane Mallarmé
Applications are due next month for the 2018 Writing With The Stars (WWTS) Mentorships. In February 2017, I had the great honor of being selected for a mentorship with Penny Parker Klostermann, author of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight and A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale.
I applied to Penny specifically because of her participation as a critique ninja for Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 writing challenge in 2016. She gave me a critique with the most thoughtful and thorough feedback I had ever received. With her critique and additional feedback from an editor at a retreat, I overhauled the manuscript multiple times before arriving at the version I submitted with my WWTS application. Penny recognized the manuscript and the hard work that went into improving it. I expected that same level of constructive feedback from her as a mentor, and she did not disappoint!
Our 3-month mentorship turned into 8 productive months in which we focused heavily on 4 manuscripts, though Penny provided feedback on 6 additional manuscripts! We covered industry best practices, writing resources, formatting tips, career strategy, decoding agent/editor feedback, and much more…in addition to the back-and-forth (and back-and-forth) revision work. Penny was meticulous, honest, supportive, and so generous with her time! She even shared her own work with me, including a sneak peek of A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale before its release earlier this year. Most importantly, Penny believed in my work (and still does) and provided ongoing encouragement that continues to motivate and inspire me today!
My key takeaways from this experience include:
I cannot thank Penny enough for all the time and energy she put into our mentorship. The experience was invaluable and I heartily recommend applying. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain - even the application process itself is beneficial to your growth! Applications for the 2018 WWTS mentorships are accepted January 8-13. Good luck!
Some favorite picture books in our house right now are new sibling books. Maybe that’s why one of my manuscripts is revising in that direction...or maybe, it’s because I’m 15 weeks pregnant. Our toddler will be dealing with the new sibling adjustment a couple months shy of her third birthday. If this baby comes a week late like our daughter, we will have two holiday babies – Christmas and Halloween. Maybe I should be writing holiday-themed picture books.
Interestingly, the titles below all ended up on my library hold shelf at the same time. I was actually unaware of their shared theme and completely surprised by my favorite!
The Bossier Baby (2016) by Marla Frazee, one of my favorite illustrators. With parallels to The Boss Baby and updates to reflect the times, fans of the Boss Baby will love this sequel. Can’t wait until my daughter is a little older and we can see The Boss Baby movie.
Maple (2014) by Lori Nichols
I loved the comparison between the girl’s growth and that of the tree. And what beautiful language – my favorite line started, “When she was still a whisper…” This is the first book of a series. Looking forward to checking out additional titles.
Ninja Baby (2015) by David Zeltser and Diane Goode
A strong opening, playful irony in the images, and sparse text at 235 words made this a great read. I loved the unique approach to showcasing sibling differences.
Rodeo Red (2015) by Maripat Perkins and Molly Idle
At over 700 words, it came as a surprise to me that this was my favorite – my daughter’s too! Great language, voice, and dialect makes this a fun read aloud. I didn’t mind reading it over and over so I could perfect my western accent. I really appreciated that it didn’t force a sibling bond for the ending. Did you see who illustrated this fantastic book? And how fun (and fitting) is the author's name!
I am thrilled to announce that I was selected for a 3-month Writing With The Stars (WWTS) Mentorship with Penny Parker Klostermann! Penny is the author of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight and the forthcoming A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale. Check out the official WWTS announcement here!
I am so honored to have this opportunity and owe it, in part, to Julie Hedlund's 12X12 Challenge. Julie introduced Critique Ninjas to the Challenge in 2016. Their role included reading manuscripts posted to the forum and providing feedback to aspiring writers. Every member of 12X12 is guaranteed Critique Ninja feedback on one manuscript. Last winter, I posted a manuscript and received feedback from Critique Ninja Penny Parker Klostermann, who was as enthusiastic about my story as I was and provided valuable feedback. A revised (overhauled) manuscript and 10 months later, this is the manuscript I submitted as part of my WWTS application to Penny. She remembered the manuscript, loved the revision, and picked ME!
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