Saturday, April 30, 2011

NaPiBoWriWee 2011 - Story draft #1 is done!

Holy cow! I can't believe it's only 2pm on Sunday and I have written my first story of NaPiBoWriWee 2011. One (1) picture book draft is complete. If I do say so myself, this is a story with potential :) The bar is set high for stories 2-7. By Saturday, I'm sure the quality of stories will have deteriorated :P This is going to get tough. But with Paula Yoo cheering me on from the sidelines, I will do it!

After all, 12 months ago I wrote five stories while at a sleep clinic with my six month old bubba! Now that he's toddling around and sleeping easily, things are getting easier.

I am astounded that last weekend I spent almost five days getting one story up to standard, and today I wrote a pretty sound one in a couple of hours. I guess that's the way it goes!

How was your story today? Was it fairly cooperative, or was it a kicker and screamer? If you're yet to start, best of luck! Just type, type, type - you can do it!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

NaPiBoWriWee 2011

It's here! Paula Yoo's annual challenge to write seven picture books in seven days - National Picture Book Writing Week, 2011 or NaPiBoWriWee. It seems like a ridiculous goal, but it CAN be done. Draft a story a day for seven days *emphasis on DRAFT* between May 1st and May 7th. Go to Paula's website for full details.

Last year I completed six first drafts in the seven days and was really spurred on by Paula's tips and advice. Those drafts were my very first attempts at writing picture books for children. I even MET Paula herself at the SCBWI LA Summer Conference last year and gave her a big thankyou hug! She works very hard for PiBos :)

It is hair-raising and motivating. Give it a whirl - you never know what magic you'll produce with those deadlines looming daily! I look forward to seeing what sorts of ideas spill out spontaneously - I haven't planned ahead like I did last year. It will be interesting...

If you're taking part, let me know.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

XMediaLab Perth and more...

Gosh, it was a heck of a conference this 'ex-media-lab' (shock, horror I was calling it the wrong name in my head - thank goodness I heard someone say 'cross-media-lab' before I made a fool of myself!) The theme of the conference was 'Storytelling in a Digital Age'. The State Theatre of WA is a great venue, and it was a really well catered event. Quite the 'day off' - I really felt like a grown-up! Check out the XML website here.
Photo courtesy of XMediaLab
I was all ablaze with new ideas after listening to some really interesting speakers and some creative conference-goers. Loved hearing about what is possible with today's technology. I was particularly inspired by the raw media being produced by 'average' people and, in particular, marginalised groups. Apparently you don't need a lot of money or resources to share a message with the world these days. It was so refreshing to hear people talk about projects for the 'greater good' and I met quite a few community-focused people with interesting projects to talk about.

There are some crazy youtube videos I need to check out - I was really blown away by what was presented. I had not considered that creativity could be expressed in so many ways. I feel kind of overwhelmed! Now it seems there's no end to the possibilities. It's really great.

I was really pleased to meet Perth illustrator, Chris Nixon after the event. I recognised him after seeing him at The Children's Book Council of Australia WA Branch's A Night With Our Stars last month. He illustrates the 'Jake' series by Ken Spillman and has a real knack with a pencil and paper (okay I don't know if that's his preferred medium, but that's as far as my art training goes!) Check out his website here.

In super-exciting news, I am booked for the 40th SCBWI LA Summer Conference. Hooray! I am very much looking forward to being there again. It is such a brilliant event. I have a round-table critique booked as well as a picture book intensive. After hearing about some very technological ways of interacting with others, I feel comforted in the knowledge that I am simply a writer of picture books! Just dealing with pieces of paper bound together that you can read and enjoy - even when the power is out or the Internet is down :)

Oh, and did I mention that I'm also visiting Rottnest Island in June for the annual SCBWI WA writing retreat? I'm booked for a critique and cannot wait for some Rocky Horror Picture Show and karaoke action. Yes, life is like that when you're a 'pre-published' author.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pleased to meet you...I'm your maker!

I'm a bit excited because I met my character this week. I must admit that I've felt like a bit of a writer-fraud lately. I've been so bogged down with day-to-day life and exploring so much great information on the web (tweet, tweet!) that I've neglected the act of writing creatively. Oh dear.

Anyway, after a few disheartening blinking cursor / blank screen moments, I discovered that pen and paper are where it's at. I'm talking about BIG paper - lots of it! Here's the product of a huge mind-purge that took place yesterday.
I did not know there was so much inside my brain! Wow, it felt good to get that out!

When I started scribbling I didn't know what I was trying to achieve, but I kept an open mind. I even asked my four-year-old to throw some scenarios at me - this was actually a lot of fun for us both! One thing led to another and I ended up meeting a character who I'd like to find out more about.

My next step will be to fill in a 'form to form a character' courtesy of Rachel Vail who I met at the SCBWI conference in LA last year. Characters complete statements such as 'I wish I weren't so...' and 'The worst thing that could happen to me right now is...' It hadn't occurred to me that this was an important step before putting a character in a story. It feels a bit foolish to admit that, now! Oh well, I have learned at least one thing about writing in the last twelve months :) 

Do you have a similar way of meeting the stars of your stories? How do you know where to start?