Friday, May 4, 2007

Talk with YA and Children’s Authors

Janet Ruth Young – The Opposite of Music

Why she chose to write a book and how…some advice to potential writers

  • Woke up one day in May 2001 and she did not want to go to work…
  • She felt that she had not lived up to her original dreams of becoming an author
  • She had a story running through her head because her family had a history of mental illness.
  • She had a little voice telling her to revisit this idea.
  • She made a plan to quit her job and work on her novel
  • She created a small manuscript and submitted for evaluation –
  • She won the Penn NE Award for new writers
  • She worked in “micro-chapters” and assigned herself one of these a day
  • The titles began as "The Scientists" and ended up as "The Opposite of Music"
  • She submitted her book as an independent writer but used many books to help her along the way.
  • She polled the publishers to get a feel for her ideas
  • While the publisher was interested, she need to work on revisions
  • The tone had to be tweaked and the voice must be true to her characters
  • She had tried to not preach but the publisher believed that half the book was missing
  • She made revisions…and then time went by…and she was eventually rejected
  • She made a new plan…to submit to more editors and more publishing companies
  • But this time she placed time constraints on the publishers
  • Finally she received an offer and negotiated for the best possible contract
  • But more revisions were asked for…more than she was willing to concede
  • Ultimately, she learned that she had to compromise…but her book was published!

Susan Lubner – Noises at Night & Ruthie Bon Bair: Do not go to bed with wringing wet hair

  • She writes children’s picture books
  • She loves to write in rhyme
  • She published 2 short stories in college
  • But got a “real job” after school
  • She took a course or workshop on writing children’s stories
  • Sold her first short story to a magazine
  • She showed the manuscript of her first book, only 350 words on 2 pieces of paper
  • Then she held up the large stack of papers involved in the revisions
  • Words are kept to a minimum in writing picture books
  • The only descriptions are one necessary for the storyline
  • Her first book was sent out 30-40 times
  • Ideas- everyday occurrences, watching nature, her reading or watching of the news, visuals, personal experiences with embellishment,
  • Even though these stories are short…sometimes they take years to write…
  • Suggest being part of a writers group to help develop their stories

Then the group was treated to a reading of Ms. Lubner’s book Ruthie Bon Bair… complete with her Ruthie “head of hair” on her head. It was enjoyable to hear her wonderful rhymes out loud.

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