Sunday, June 27, 2010

ALA 2010

In which John Green attends the 2010 American Library Association's Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. It's the biggest gathering of librarians and other library lovers in the country, and it's a weekend-long celebration of books, nerdiness, literature, and libraries.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sage Writing Advice

"Assume whoever is reading your submission is going to be in a terrible mood when they look at page 1." ~ MoonRat

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don't Judge

I had a popsicle for breakfast.
(Edy's new pomegranate ones are amazing, by the way.)

It's been one of those days.

Yet I'm beyond blessed.

Hop over to my friend Laura's blog for an awesome Middle Grade giveaway, including a new ARC by E.B. White Read-Aloud award-winning author Kate Messner.

Happy Wednesday.
(It is Wednesday, right?)


Friday, June 18, 2010

Today I'd like to meet

Or Lauren Child,

Or Lane Smith. He once wrote my son back. (Thank you.)

That's all.

Who'd be on your list?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nutella Banana Muffins

I have a thing for Nutella.

Ever since I had my first Nutella crepe, I've been smitten.

My kids have scarfed down peanut butter/ Nutella sandwiches since I don't know when.
If I'm feeling real energetic, I'll slice a banana and slap it on top.

Here's my humble attempt to extend Nutella love to breakfast. These muffins are moist, chocolatey, and now gone.

Nutella Banana Muffins
(makes 12 regular muffins)

1/2 cup pureed banana
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp canola oil or butter, softened
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1.Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine well. Set aside
2.In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Whisk in the yogurt, oil, pureed banana, and vanilla.
3.Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon just until moistened.
4.Fill the prepared tins with ½ batter. Add one tsp Nutella. Swirl a bit then top again with batter. Add another one tsp Nutella on top. Swirl again.
5.Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 30-35 mins.
6.Cool muffins.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Free Online KidLit Conference!

Seven fantabulous writers Jamie Harrington, Elana Johnson, Casey McCormick, Shannon Messenger, Lisa and Laura Roecker, and Jen Stayrook started this project with a single goal: paying it forward. They'd heard so many writers say they wished they could attend a conference, but simply didn’t have the time or money. So they're bringing a conference to them—a free online conference that anyone could attend in the convenience of their own homes. And so, WriteOnCon was born. (Rated MC-18: for main characters 18 and under.)

When? August 10-12th
The Line Up? Amazing.
Tweet? Follow @WriteOnCon

Transcripts will be available for those who have to miss.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I Could Go For Another

Day Like This.

SCUMBLE by Ingrid Law (SAVVY) is an amazing read. I could hardly put it down and found myself rereading sentences for pure bliss. Clever, witty, and full of heart. Perfect for reluctant boy readers or any girl that ever wore watermelon lip gloss. Releases this August from Dial Books.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Shrunken Manuscript

Mandy and I plan to shrink her WIP this week.

Shrink 200-plus pages to oh, I don't know, thirty-five.

Author Darcy Pattison, owner of the Fiction Notes, persuades writers to shrink their novels in her book Novel Metamorphosis.

Author Sara Lewis Holmes (OPERATION YES, Arthur Levine, 2009) uses it too. You gotta love the glitter.

Instructions for the Shrunken Manuscript Strategy

(From Darcy's website, with permission.)

  1. Take out the chapter breaks, so there is no white space between chapters.
  2. Single space the entire mss.
  3. Reduce the font of the mss until the mss takes up about 30 pages. This is arbitrary, of course, but I find that I can see about 30 pages at a time. It doesn’t matter if the font is readable; you’re trying to shrink the mss so you can mark certain things and you won’t be reading it but evaluating how these things fit into the big picture. If your mss runs over 40,000 words, you can try putting it into two columns in order for it to fit into 30 pages. If your mss is over 50,000 pages, you may need to divide it into two sections and evaluate 30-shrunken pages at a time.
  4. Use a bright, wide marker and put an X over the strongest chapters.

    Note: Actually, you can use the Shrunken Manuscript to evaluate anything that you want to visualize across the novel: places where two characters interact, the percentage of dialogue, places where you repeat a certain setting, places where the theme is made obvious, etc.

  5. Lay out the mss pages on the floor in about three rows of ten. (Adjust layout to your page count, of course.)
  6. Stand back and evaluate.

Of course, everything is arbitrary and I’ve just made up rules to fit my mss. Change anything you need to fit your mss. But these guidelines generally work well for most mss.

I hope to do this to my own MG by summer's end. Don't worry, I'll post plenty of pictures! (I'm thinking M&Ms would work well.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Top 10 Topics for Novels

This is a list compiled by the editorial staff at Dial Books for Young Readers.

This list, along with others, was distributed at our regional SCBWI conference last spring.

1. The new kid in middle school or high school
2. Choosing between the popular crowd and the social outcast with a heart of gold
3. High fantasy with a prologue and tons of characters with unpronounceable names who go on a quest.
4. Dealing with parents going through a divorce
5. Dealing with the death of a parent or sibling
6. A sulky, angsty, "too cool" teen who must learn to get over him/herself
7. A kid trying to save the cranes, dolphins, redwoods etc.
8. A kid who's sent to live with a cranky aunt/uncle/grandparent and who discovers the older person is okay after all.
9. War historical fiction, especially set during the WWII and The Revolutionary War
10. A "normal kid" who discovers she/he has some kind of magical power

*This doesn't mean you can't submit these topics, only that we see these most often, so make sure yours is really different

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I did a little online window shopping.

The bag can hold a laptop. *sigh*

Of course, I had to browse your book section.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Great cover. Love the flamingos.

This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek. One of my favorite cities.
Also, This is New York.

Missing was This is Rome (first published in 1960), This is Venice, This is London, This is Ireland, This is Australia, This is San Francisco, and many more.

Great reads for little world travelers and geographers.