Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Writer's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, #BookADay, writing/publishing industry surveys, Writing & Illustrating a Picture Book For Simon & Schuster BFYR post series and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives, and comics for writers (including Will Write For Chocolate).
I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi
My MiG critique partner, Carmella VanVleet, is looking for work. I've known Carmella for a couple of years now, and we've also hung out in person.
Carmella has had many books and short pieces for young people published, and I've always found her critique comments extremely useful. She's responsible, accurate and fun.
I strongly recommend her services.
You can find out more about Carmella at:
I've always been interested in reading about other writers' work habits, so I was delighted to see that Cheryl Klein had posted a review with Elizabeth C. Bunce, the author of CURSE AS DARK AS GOLD (which I loved) and STARCROSSED (ooo, must get this).
Elizabeth says that CURSE took three years of "painstaking craft and research" and then six months of revision after the sale. For another book, LIAR's MOON, she did a ton of plotting, outlining and prep before she wrote a single word...and then wrote a solid first draft in just over three months.
Beyond The Margins is a group blog for a group of writers who met, taught, and workshopped through Grub Street, a nonprofit creative writing center in Boston. "We have published novels, short fiction, poetry, newspaper and magazine articles, and our backgrounds and careers run the gamut from social work and medicine to journalism, law, graphic design, and metalwork."
Check out BTM for some great writing tips as well as insider publishing info.
We debunk the myths of freelance writing, deliver book reviews and interviews with authors and editors and agents, and take humorous looks at the craft, the industry and ourselves.
Today's post: To Blog Or Not To Blog: Authors Online (hey, and I'm mentioned in it! :-))
Though I've gotten better over the years, I still struggle with this one word. Seems (at first, at least) much easier to say yes. I'm talking about the small favors that people ask you to do, the ones that you're sure will only take a few minutes of your time. The most insidious: the favors that you know would be fun to do, or the ones that are almost work-related.
Be wary of saying yes to too many of these. Inevitably, they'll add up until WHOA, suddenly you find yourself spending more time on these quickie favors for other people than you are on your own work.
Stay focused on your goals. Prioritize.
Learn how to say no politely but firmly without feeling guilty.
To clarify (because I'm already anticipating at least one person piping up and righteously saying that she's GLAD to want to say yes to those asking for help): I'm not saying you should ALWAYS say no...just be selective and be realistic. And be able to say no when you need to.
Hey, check out this Business Insider article: "10 Ways People Are Using The iPad To Create Content, Not Just Consume It." Heh.
It's Banned Book Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read.
Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Cheryl Rainfield (author of SCARS) made a great post recently about Banned Book Week and issued a challenge:
I hope you’ll consider buying (or borrowing) and reading some of these banned books–and sharing them with others. I hope, too, that you’ll speak out about book banning–write a post about it, share your thoughts on FaceBook or Twitter.
As Cheryl pointed out recently on her blog, you might be surprised at some of the books on the ALA's list of Top 100 Banned Books list (past decade): Harry Potter, for instance. But it's true.
I'm going to go through this list and make a point of reading as many of these banned books as I can.
I feel very lucky to have grown up in an area where books were never banned, but some children aren't as lucky. I'm also naive enough to still be shocked by the depth of ignorance shown by adults in modern-day society, like when an associate professor condemns books like Laurie Halse Anderson's brilliant SPEAK as "soft core pornography."
You can follow the #SpeakLoudly discussion on Twitter.
Find out more about Cheryl Rainfield and her book SCARS at http://www.cherylrainfield.com/.
For those interested, I have a new post up on the MiG Writers site:
Thanks for all the crossed fingers about my book projects, all! Much appreciated. :-)
I know I've raved about the SCBWI writers' conference before, but I must rave again. Since the conference, I've been at least twice as productive as usual. Not just because of what happened with the Illustrator Portfolio Showcase, but because of the workshops and talks I heard as well as the people I met.
I still haven't posted some of the takeaways and mentorship session details, but I still plan to. SO much to write and draw, and not enough time! Holy cow. Anyway, thanks for your patience.
Rubin Pfeffer's keynote about digital publishing and the children's book publishing industry really boosted my interest in digital technology and its impact on book publishing. Since Inkygirl (and @inkyelbows on Twitter) has a focus on the craft of writing, I've decided to save most of my digital publishing and e-book posts for my iPadGirl blog (and @ipadgirl on Twitter).
For those who don't have time to browse my iPadGirl tweets, feel free to read my occasional daily round-ups of news about digital publishing, e-books and iPads on iPadGirl instead.
A children's book publisher I admire a great deal recently invited me to send them a picture book story. Well, I did...and THEY LIKE IT! They've asked for a few sketches, so that's what I'm working on right now. So if I'm a bit scarce in Inkygirl for a little bit, that's why.
Meanwhile, I've just sent a proposal for a nonfiction book to my agent for her comments, and will be sending that off soon.
Sooooooooooo excited! Please keep your fingers crossed for me, thanks. :-)
One of the many reasons I'm glad I joined Twitter is because I got to meet the Toronto Middle Grade and YA Author Group. The group was founded by Claudia Osmond (above left), and even though we get together once a month, some of us also meet in smaller gatherings as well.
Fun to hang out with Andrew Tolson (above right) and Claudia this afternoon, talking about kidlit publishing and catching up on each other's writing projects. The photos above & below were taken on my iPhone, and then I tweaked them using the TiltShiftGen app on my iPad. Andrew took the photo below. Andrew's a professional photographer, by the way; his recent photo of Bill Gates is the COVER photo of the current Maclean's magazine!
I met YA author Nelsa Roberto through the Toronto Middle Grade and Young Adult group (a.k.a. Torkidlit). Nelsa's one of those people who makes you feel comfortable right away. She's smart, she's funny, she speaks her mind. Read my interview with Nelsa to find out about how she wrote and sold her debut YA novel, ILLEGALLY BLONDE, and her advice for hopeful writers.
I've recently been enjoying the audiobook version of Kathryn Stockett's bestselling book, THE HELP. I tend to listen to audiobooks whenever I'm out for a walk (in a safe neighbourhood) or doing household chores.
But that's the way the game is played: you win some, you lose some, and the take-away for me from this story for authors is that confidence in your work, persistence, and of course a good dose of luck and timing, can make all the difference. It's a great success story, and in a time where there are so many grim reports about book publishing, it's refreshing to see a story about a book that got it all right, even if it had some stumbling blocks along the way.
I find reading about other people's work habits inspiring. The Kite Runner author Khaled Hosseini, for example, typically gets up at 4 a.m. Has some coffee and breakfast, reads the paper, then writes for 2-3 hours before going to his other job. He says that reading a few lines from a favourite novel before he gets started helps him get into the flow of things.
Read more in this Red Room profile.
Click on the image to the left to see a bigger version of the iPad comic I created this morning. If you're curious about what apps I used to create it, you can read the whole post in iPadGirl.