Tuesday, March 3, 2015

WRITE HABIT: NY15SCBWI Editors Panel: Children's Books 2015: Report from the Front Lines

So I learned a LOAD of useful information on the 2015 State of Children’s Books from an Amazing Editors Panel at the NY15SCBWI Conference. Check out what the experts had to say.






Justin Chanda, VP & Publisher of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 3 imprints of S&S


BEST ADVICE: “We’re growing generations of readers.”

MY TAKE: Start them young and they will read with you for life!!



Laura Godwin, VP & Publisher of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Imprint of Macmillian, 5 imprints

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She thinks we’ll see a Picture Book Renaissance, and here’s why: picture books are on the upswing.

Social media allows authors to push their own books and other books—it’s great publicity for everyone all around.

MY TAKE: I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again and again. Writers and Illustrators are soooo GREAT and FRIENDLY. We are ALL in this together, so lets spread the word!!




Beverly Horowitz, VP & Publisher, Delacorte Press (Dell Press)
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She wanted to take a moment to remember George Nicholson. Fifty years ago he began printing paperback books. He was ridiculed and criticized but he did it anyway, and none of us would not be here today if it wasn’t for his tenacity.

MY TAKE:  Individuals can make a difference. We just have to BELIEVE.

She edited We Were Liars.

BEST ADVICE: “Bring your imagination to your writing and readers will bring imagination to books.”

*Write a great book and readers will come.”



Stephanie Owens, Assoc. Publisher, Disney-Hyperion
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GOOD NEWS: Research proves “Kids prefer REAL books.”

Ebooks trending downward. 

Hardcover more viable than ever—“Kids wants them as soon as they come out.”  
—Hmmmm, not just kids.

Ask yourself the question: What makes my story unique?

What’s my backstory and how can it help me?

Can my story be expanded beyond the work.


Think about how to grow your fanbase. 

MY TAKE: The market and the world has changed. You might have the BEST agent and the MOST BRILLANT editor and the LARGEST Publisher, but if you don’t get out into the world via social media or networking at conferences or social visits, YOU’RE SUNK!  




BEST ADVICE FROM ALL OF THEM: Start with a Great Book!


We Need Diverse Books Stance

Justin Chanda: The campaign brought the issue to the forefront. Now buyers need to make the choice to purchase diverse books.

Beverly Horowitz: Books are out there, but what we need is for people to say to themselves, “I need to know more about worlds that aren’t mine.”




And that’s the NY15SCBWI Editors Panel in a nutshell, now get cracking!

Write on,


Kim Briggs

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WRITE HABIT: Anthony Horowitz: Grabbing Young Readers

Saturday morning of the NY SCBWI 2015 conference opened with Anthony Horowitz as our first keynote.  Anthony Horowitz has written loads of books, specializing in mystery and suspense. He's well known for his Alex Rider series, the Diamond Brothers series, and The Power of Five Series. He's also commissioned to write the next James Bond book, so if you had any doubt regarding his ability to take you on an adventure, think again. As a presenter, he's entertaining with loads of energy.  In other words, right up my alley!


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Writing Tips He shared with my side notes to get you thinking...

1. Test your ideas. Talk about them, think with them, share them with people you know and see if its a topic others are interested in.

2. Write with Authority, Knowledge, and Confidence. Your readers will know if you don't know what you're talking about. Become familiar with your topic through research and experience.  **Don't jump off a train to see what it feels like, but a sofa or a step stool with a fan might help;)

3. Remember the 1st Line is the line kids and parents read in the store. Make it a good one! Read first lines from your favorite books. What makes them work? What doesn't?

4. Go with the Flow. Does the narrative you started with continue throughout the book? Why or why not? Was it intentional or did you fall off the tracks somewhere? Reread to pinpoint the break. *A rewrite might be in order to really address the issue and keep the flow moving.

5. Write UP for Children.  "Don't write down for children. Make them rise to you." That said, avoid complicated names and four syllable Scrabble winning words if one or two syllable words works. **Over-complications create stumbling blocks for the readers.

6. Avoid Autobiographies. "Use your world, but be careful using too much of yourself in your books." Use whats around you.

7. Use Truth as Basis for Writing. Don't worry about the Money. If you write a story based on the market and the paycheck at the end, you're doing yourself and your readers a disservice. Write the stories you NEED to tell.

8. "I am a camera." Readers want to feel like they're in the story jumping off the cliff with you or chasing after the bad guy or eating the ice cream sundae...Hmm, does that add to daily caloric consumption?

9. Plan your writing. Beginning, Middle, End

AND THE BEST ADVICE...........

                10. NEVER GIVE UP!!

AND SOME MORE EXCELLENT ADVICE...........

                 11. WRITE IT!!!!!

That's advice I can get behind! I'd add --don't forget the chocolate, but that's me:)


Write on,

Kim Briggs

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Where in the World has Kim been?

That's a good question, and one I can probably answer, but it won't be quick and believe me, it might even be painful.

Since July's World Cup post, I've been to Ocean City, New Jersey, Los Angeles, CA for the SCBWI Conference--pure awesomeness by the way (I'll post photos in the upcoming months--you know just me hanging with Stephen Chbosky, Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Jay Asher, Thirteen Reason's Why), and the day after LA, I left for three weeks to camp in the Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee. During the fall, I coordinated and ran Eastern Pa's Fall Philly Event, and spent my afternoons and weekends as my kiddos personal chauffeur. I've also been elbow deep in revisions for my New Adult, And Then He--and squeak: It's ALMOST ready to submit. I'm a little crazy and A LOT neurotic, but I swear to you I will be submitting it soon. Darn thing won't publish itself.

And shiver me timbers and call me stubborn, but after the Fall Philly event, I went back to work on the beginning of my Young Adult Contemporary Realistic, Starr Fall. Starr's story begs to be told, and she won't be quiet about it. She kicks my ass every so often to remind me that I need to submit her book if she's ever going to kick the Organization's ass. And da, da, dahhhhh, I think I've finally got the beginning Starr Fall was meant to have, and after my NY SCBWI intensives on Friday, I'll find out if I'm heading in the write direction... (You got that, right?)

So tomorrow I leave for the NYSCBWI conference, and I can't wait. It's my second conference as Co-Regional Advisor for Eastern PA, and let me tell you, SCBWI membership has it's privileges. I get to meet and hang out with hundreds of writers, illustrators, and creative types who LOVE books as much as I do.

AND you want to know what makes it even better? My Ink Sisters, Donna Boock and Alison Green Myers, are coming with me!! Eeeeppppp!! Inspiration will be ours!!


Off to pack my journals, notebooks, and pens...(Glad I stocked up on my office supplies.)

Stay tuned for details on the NY15SCBWI!!

Write on,
Kim




Tuesday, July 8, 2014

WRITING LESSONS FROM WORLD CUP SOCCER By KIM BRIGGS



What does World Cup Soccer and Writing have to do with each other? On the surface, not much, but I wondered aloud what I should blog about and in my sports family, SOCCER rules.


Hmm, that's interesting. Writing and Soccer? They ARE alike. We dodge passive voice like Renaldo dodges opponents. We shoot on goal. Agents block our queries like US Goalie Tim Howard blocks shots, but if we write and submit like Messi. We fire from our right foot. Recover the blocked shot with our left and fire again. And again. And again.


Occasionally, with hard work and drive and a tenacious streak that won't quit, our relentless shots get through and score.


We can write every day for hours at a time. We can read books from our genres and categories. We can network and tweet and Facebook. We can workshop our manuscripts. We can edit out every cliché and passive voice. We can remove the stiff dialogue. We can round our characters til the cows come home, but at the end of the day, if we don't fire off query after query after query, we will never get that GOAL!




Game on,
Kim




Sunday, June 29, 2014

BOOK RAP: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The end of July, I journey to the West Coast to attend my FIRST Los Angeles SCBWI Conference. I can't wait. I've hit New York, and it's great fun, but I heard LA rocks!


I signed up for the World Building Intensive with Krista Marino. She assigned three books to read: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, the sequel to it, The Dead Tossed Seas, and Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. (I already finished my assignment--yes, my nose shines bright!)


I have never read a zombie book before. There, I said it. I never had an interest in zombies. I tossed zombies over the fence with aliens and always felt if they didn't bother me, I won't bother them.
Front Cover

I didn't read the back cover of the book. I jumped right in. Well, the Forest of Hands and Teeth starts off at break neck speed and doesn't stop. I followed Mary on her journey through death, heartache and betrayal, and more death.


Carrie Ryan actually never says the Z-word until the acknowledgements in the back of the book, but I have to admit, I suspected that the Unconsecrated might be zombies (about 3/4 of the way through--don't laugh!) Though I suppose the signs were there--After all, the unconsecrated crave human blood, spread disease through bite marks,and break their fingers, teeth, and bones trying to get to their prey.


But Carrie Ryan spins a tale so well and so tight in the first person present tense that I devoured the book. It didn't matter it had zombies in it, just like it didn't matter to me that a vampire fell in love with a human, or an angel fell in love with a demon, or a boy fell in love with a witch. A good book is a good book.


The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a tale of survival, a test of faith, and an excellent example of spell-binding writing.


I challenge you to read it. Go out and buy a copy. Or, if you doubt me, download a sample onto your Kindle or Nook. You won't be sorry.


Go ahead, you know you want to.


Write on,
Kim

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

FAST FRIENDS: SCBWI EPA Pocono Retreat 2014 Sunday Morning




In May, our SCBWI Eastern PA Chapter held our annual Pocono Retreat at the Highlights Foundation in Boyds Mill, PA.





We started out as strangers but became FAST FRIENDS--the beauty of a writer's workshop or conference. Friday started out quiet and then Sunday morning bustled with conversation, as witnessed above.


Workshops and conference create opportunities to network and talk to people who GET you from the moment your eyes meet. SCBWI and the Highlights Foundation offer loads of different writer and illustrator opportunities throughout the year.


And if finances are an issue, scholarships are available. I received scholarships to the May 2013 SCBWI EPA Pocono Retreat and 2012 Highlights Workshop Kid's Book Retreat with Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson. Both experiences left me with a wealth of information about the world of writing and lifelong friends who cheerlead for me to this day.


Take a chance on you. Expand your horizon. Make friends.


Write on,
Kim