"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!
I’m in a slump…
I’m no longer writing daily.
I missed some monthly writing goals in August.
I got 2 rejections this month – I’m very selective in my agent submissions so these and the other 6 I’ve gotten this year feel very personal!
And I’m having a baby next month – I feel as though the walls are closing in on my writing time (and maybe my sanity)!
So I did the unthinkable.
I heard a knock…and let her in. And now my inner critic refuses to leave.
She’s watching cheesy Hallmark movies, flaunting celebrity children’s books, and hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock.
It’s time to kick the critic to the curb. Here’s my plan of attack:
And I’m keeping in mind Josh Funk’s tweet that Kate DiCamillo’s BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE was rejected 494 times!!! And his LADY PANCAKE picture book received 35 rejections from agents before he subbed directly to publishers through the slush pile.
What tricks do you employ to get out of a writing rut?
There are so many amazing resources out there for aspiring children’s book writers. Here are 5 that I love!
Kate Messner’s Picture Book Math & Why You Should Write Something New
Kate starts with 365 “flashes of ideas” and breaks down how many become published books. The take-away, WRITE!
Miranda Paul’s Path to Publication Checklist
I’m at 50 and counting...Next time my daughter and I use play-doh, I’ll check off #32. And watching the Boss Baby film will knock off #47.
Tara Lazar’s Storystorm (previously PiBoIdMo)
Tara’s month-long picture book idea challenge is a great way to brainstorm ideas. She has also compiled in one place, links to all her amazing guest author blog posts from 2012-2014 with more coming soon.
Beth Ferry’s My Euphoria at Discovering Anaphora: The Use of Literary Devices in Picture Books
Literary devices are great tools for picture book authors. I had no idea I was writing anadiplosis poems to my high school boyfriend! And in Part 2, Beth suggests writers steer clear of periphrasis!
Goodreads Picture Book Lists
Great lists organized by publication year with approximately 100 books each year (2015-2018).
Want additional KidLit resources, click here.
Want to know more about the process of writing for children, click here.
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