Sunday, April 25, 2004

Last weekend I went to another excellent SCBWI event, featuring Simon & Schuster editor Alyssa Eisner, author/writing instructor Kristi Holl, and author April Lurie, in a beautiful lakeside setting. The attendees were all writers, not illustrators, and as an icebreaker, we were asked to bring a sample of our writing, something to illustrate it, a true author bio, and a fake artist bio, with any sort of display we wanted. I went kind of nuts over all the cool paper choices at the craft stores, and ended up displaying my poem "Inside Out House" on a spiral-themed corkboard, with scenes from the switched inside and outside of the house depicted (thanks to what I termed my "gratuitous use of clipart") on either side of a tri-fold card. Everyone voted for their favorite display, and I ended up winning second prize, an autographed copy of Sid Fleischman's autobiography, The Abracadabra Kid. Cool! The event itself was, of course, informative and inspiring. Thanks to the writing exercises Kristi Holl shared, I also created a great new character while there, to go in another novel I want to write someday.

At the event, I bought April Lurie's novel Dancing in the Streets of Brooklyn. I started flipping through it the next day, and got so hooked I couldn't put it down until I'd read the whole thing! About the same thing happened to me a few days later, when I picked up Greg Leitich Smith's novel Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo at the bookstore and began to read it. I had to leave the store shortly afterwards, but felt compelled to buy the book so I could keep reading it. They're very different types of books, but both terrific!

Last week I finished a draft of a young adult short story I'd been stuck on for a couple of years--unfortunately, there's almost no market for YA short stories anymore, and this one is odd (as is typical for me...), so now I'm not sure what to do with it. But I guess I'll try sending it out this week. Meanwhile I'm starting to get antsy about the novel manuscript I sent out 3 months ago...& am thinking I need to focus on my midgrade novel again. Lately my kids have made it difficult for me to focus on anything! But I discovered when working on my "art" project for the SCBWI event last weekend that I worked really well in our "office." It's a spare bedroom/junk room that houses a desk but no computer at the moment (our only working computer is my laptop), and I've never actually written in there before (usually my laptop is truly on my lap, as it is while I'm typing this!), but I think I'll see about setting it up as my office. I need some change in perspective!