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I hope you join us to play along and keep looking up and noticing the beauty in the everyday, you never know where I will be sketching next! Thanks to all who entered, Joanne Baird was randomly picked to go into the draw for April. An easy one since I just took some photos of it a few days ago! Name required. Email required. Cancel Reply. Instagram Twitter Facebook. Illustrations, news and events from life in Scotland's capital. WhereArtI Edinburgh? Posted on Apr 22, James 23rd April Canongate Tolbooth. Kirsty 23rd April The toolbooth part way down the Royal Mile.

Patricia Swan 22nd April Canongate tolbooth. The hard part about a critique group is that you can write a sparkling chapter or scene. Your characters may sing. Your settings glow. Which can be hard to discern when you proceed slowly, chapter by chapter, with days or even weeks between readings. What advice would you give to new writers just dipping their toes into a manuscript? The most important thing, of course, is to read.

I had a headstart on that, having been a book reviewer and a school librarian for a very long time. I suspect reading aloud to kids helped me get the rhythm of sentences, the sound of words, the flow of paragraphs and pages. When writing historical fiction, especially for kids, I strongly believe you need to be sure your information is correct before you even begin to add it to the novel. I read a lot of non-fiction about the period.

And when it came down to it, I reached out to friends and family. Especially in the final stages of editing, I needed help with crucial parts of the story. Emails and phone calls flew! Do you say doodlebug or roly-poly? Fireflies or lightning bugs? And the more serious questions, what happened in your community during those historic times.

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Would Glory have stood up and spoken out like she did? When I began to think like Glory, to worry about swimming pools and libraries closing for no reason, I knew I had a story.

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They just finished reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham, , and I think this is a terrific companion novel to that book. You can see Augusta in person if you happen to be near Oxford, Mississippi!

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Have fun, Augusta, and thanks for hanging out with us in The Tollbooth. This was possibly the best advice I ever received.

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In other words: write the scenes you want to write. Then go back and write the other scenes.

For me, these are usually the scenes with high dramatic tension or a lot of action. I liked writing the humorous scenes, too. Now that I am working on something new, I find myself doing the same thing. I have a theme. A point. A destination. Writing is almost fun for me this way. Preheat oven to degrees. Butter your ramekins.

Melt together in a double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir and remove from heat. Beat eggs and yolks. Add sugar. Beat until doubled in volume. Beat in chocolate mix, then flour. Divide batter into ramekins I use six for this recipe and cook 11 to 14 minutes. The sides should be set. The middle should be soft.

Although you will be tempted to eat this the second it comes out, give yourself enough time to create either a nice raspberry sauce…some whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yesterday, I wrote very briefly about my personal correlation: cooking and writing. For me, they go together. My favorite milestone is getting to page So to celebrate page , I treat myself to Thai Seafood Soup. I began developing this recipe when I first moved to Hanover, NH. If you have loved ones sensitive to spicy food, cut back on the peppers…or watch steam rise from their scalps.

When my kids were small, and esp before I had any success at all, I wanted to include them in the process, in these milestones. This is a commitment living the writing life that we have all made…and I never forget that. Add mushrooms, lemongrass, serranos and seasoning mix. When that begins to stick about 2 min on high heat , add juice and fish sauce. Cook five minutes until thick. Then add stock. Bring to boil. Add fish and cilantro. Again, bring to boil. When fish is cooked, add vegees. Add extra lemon and lime to taste. Ladle into individual bowls with silver noodles, cilantro garnish, and some bean sprouts.

Make sure you have a BIG pitcher of water. I halve the cayenne. For my husband. Because he is the one who has made it possible for me to stay home and write….. All these things let my subconscious ramble and gives me enough space to think about something besides politics!! When I cook, I think. I smell. I imagine details. I also write a lot better and faster when I take care of myself! An appetizer. A main course. A salad.

Basically, put all this stuff in a food processor, season to taste, and eat. Or tabouli. Or next to a piece of grilled tomato. Pages burn into ashes.

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Sentences blow away like the seeds of a dandelion clock. There are times we must remove our Darlings. The revision may be substantial, and it is like we are pulling the warp threads out of a plot or sending the keystone from a character arc tumbling to the ground. We can save an awesome turn of phrase to use at another time later. We can borrow and steal elements from a deleted scene for another story. Not a word we write is wasted.

Example One : In my novel, River , I cut a significant secondary character. When I revised, elements of her character that were critical to moving the plot forward shifted to two other secondary characters. Example Two : [These opening sentences are taken from one of my picture books that I wrote while at VCFA while in the picture book semester. We cross the bridge toward the mountains wild. The essence of what is cut removed often floats around and squeezes into other sentences or parts of the book.

At times, deleting and writing more words acts as a palimpsest: not all that was removed is fully erased.

Vestiges remain. Even when we kill our Darlings, they live on as ghosts and shadows. Aspects of what we removed remain in the pages. In essence, although what we cut is no longer there, ghosts of those words will haunt our pages and flit between sentences. We feel the anguish and lovesickness and grief of teenaged Jessica Vye as deeply as she feels it, simply because Gardam must have been willing to love her, too, all the way from the inside out.

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A lot, it turns out. And the only way that works for me to figure out what can actually happen in a book in is to try to live up to the example of writers like McGhee and Gardam and Schmidt by working very hard to have a loving heart that understands my characters and feels what they feel, loving them wholly from the inside. Because how they feel drives what they do, and what they do is what turns into a plot. So, loving hearts ahoy! And thank you, Gary Schmidt, for such a gorgeous example.

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The SCBWI winter conference came and went like an invigorating whirlwind of ideas, insights and connections. As usual, there were scores of diverse industry folks including, this winter, people working in digital storytelling and marketing , and an inviting collection of breakout sessions of which we attendees could sample three. This seemed, at first, restrictive, but I think it pressed us to be specific and focused on our areas of passion and interest.

So, here are my picks of a few key moments, and the things that stayed with me as I jetted from the conference on my way home to Los Angeles:. SCBWI, along with all its regional and international tentacles, and associated writing groups, bloggers, and specialty discussion groups, has always been the nerve center for accessible networking between writers. The Society primarily functions as a community, and the twice-yearly conferences act as testament to this collective spirit. To that end, this winter get-together encouraged attendees to get to know their regional advisors, consider a submission to an editor, get involved in panel discussions, ask that burning question, and, of course, make that accidental connection over bagels and lox cream cheese.

Breakout sessions. Many sessions were craft oriented revision, dialogue, pacing and exposition , and some had an illustrative component. The breakout sessions I chose were generally broad in scope, and tended to be genre related. She blended solid crafty talking points with the commerciality demanded from many agents such as herself. In the second session, Arianne Lewin from G.

How did the authors manage to convey the fantasy world without too much exposition? What part did dialogue and action play? The making of trailers, websites, and other promotional platforms were discussed and demonstrated. The term branding was bandied around no-one seems to wholly embrace that word , although it became evident to me that, from a marketing perspective, that is what we writers should all be doing.

It seems sensible to hone this identity than confuse or downplay it, as, ultimately, it is going to help increase book sales and readership. Why not sci-fi morphed with supernatural and a slathering of romance, for instance? There appears room for more very young middle grade stories for, say, 2nd graders.

Books have to find a place in the marketplace. Those stories that have a global reach tend also to be more attractive to those marketing them this may be the reason the fantasy genre continues to do well, as it tends to deal with plots beyond local issues, and thereby may appeal to a wider audience. Beyond all this, each speaker made clear that the Bottom Line is, of course, great and engaging storytelling.

But in our world of multitasking and distractions, focus is one of the hardest undertakings to achieve and keep. Left and right brain sides speak to each more smoothly, threads are better connected, and, needless to say, progress is better made. Finally, the Portfolio Showcase — where illustrators competed — culminated with Mike Curato as the winner. Mike had entered a wonderful art piece of a tiny white elephant yearning over an elaborate iced cake in a shop window.

Who says writers are shy and unforthcoming? I was tugged between the lavish cocktail event, the Australian regional contingent my country of origin , the GLBT discussion group growing in greater numbers and diversification every conference , and the VCFAers who gathered en masse for a fantastic Italian dinner on 42nd Street.

He is based in Los Angeles and his website is: www. As we continue our discussion about self-marketing, I want to talk a bit well, more than a bit about discussion, activity, and teaching guides. Should you have one? And how can a guide help you market your book?