Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pets, Picture Books and Pals...

Can I hear an "Ohhhhh?"  
Macy has spent her whole life trying to make a special (furry) friend. 
 Now she has one.

November is a busy month for lots of writers.  Some participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month--50,000 words in one month) and others participate in PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month--30 new picture book ideas in one month).  I've been dabbling a little in both.  I'm thinking I'm going to have to commit to one or the other, as my brain seems to be skipping around.  

Last weekend I went to the SCBWI-MO conference and had the honor of being critiqued by Quinlan Lee from the Adams Literary Agency.  I submitted my picture book manuscript; Operation Pied Piper to her (you can read the blurb for it on my completed manuscripts page).  As always, I like to share a little of what I learned.  

  • At 659 words, it is the perfect length for a picture book.  (big smile)
  • Has great details and voice.  (huge smile)
  • Interesting time in history.  (big smile)
  • A historical fiction is a hard sale for a debut author.  (hmmmm)  Try writing something more commercial, quirky, fun first.
  • Story leaves you hanging...not enough action.  (yep, I knew that)
  • Would the story be better if it was told through a different character's eyes.  (OMGoodness...I was just thinking that!)
  • Consider making it into a middle grade novel.  (Yay!  I've already started writing it and am on chapter 7.)

I have to say Quinlan was lovely and very supportive.  Her presentation to the whole group was outstanding. If you have the opportunity to interact with her at a conference, go for it.  She is super friendly and a delightful speaker.  She even took some extra time to visit with my dear friend Susan.

This is the Pals part of my post...

My wonderful bloggy friend Sheri Larsen has been working furiously on picture books this month!  If you don't know Sheri you should hop over and check her out.  She has a great site full of useful information for writers of all genres, plus she's wicked cool!

If you haven't entered my giveaway for Susan Kaye Quinn's new book OPEN MINDS hop over and leave a comment.  I'll announce who the winner is on my November 17th post.

Everybody's pal (and picture book writer) Robyn Campbell has been sick all if you get a chance to hop over and give her a virtual hug I'm sure she'd appreciate it.  

Are you participating in NaNo or PiBo this year?  

Do you have a pet that you love more than chocolate?

Thanks for stopping in and hugs to all!!!


  1. Charlie! (answer to the last question!) LOL!

    Awwww Sharon - what great feedback for your book!! That's brilliant!! Looks like you are on your way to creating a perfect story! Good for you and well done!

    Big AWWWWWWW for Macy and Peaches!! Lovely to see!!

    Big healing and supportive hugs to all these fab bloggie friends too!

    Good luck with your nano, pibo -ing! Take care

  2. Sounds like you got an awesome critique. Congrats!

    I'm not doing NanNo. Too hard with work an swim season.

  3. Hi Sharon .. Peaches and Macy look very contented - and so would I be .. in such creature comfort.

    Wonderful to have such great ideas for your critique .. sounds like you're on the right track ...

    Cheers for the weekend .. Hilary

  4. It sounds like you received some really helpful advice! Good for you!! :)

  5. It sounds like things are going well in your and your pets' lives :)

    I'm so glad you had a productive edit session at the SBCWI meeting -- a good mix of positive and constructive criticism. And a new MG idea to boot!

    Happy writing!

  6. Such a cute picture. I hope my cat and dog get along when we buy a dog next year.

    What an excellent critique! Linda Urban's A Crooked Kind of Perfect began as a picture book. I think the same thing happened with her 2nd book, Hound Dog True. They're both excellent books. They're short with short chapters. Maybe you want to pick them up for some inspiration. Good luck!

  7. 1) awwww!
    2) yay for your exciting critique!
    3) i'm participating in NanoREVmo, we are revising all month =)

  8. Hooray for the great critique! I love those furry pals!

  9. Awesome feedback. You really are ahead of the game too, Sharon. Because you all ready knew it should be a MG novel.

    I need to send you chapter one of 72 Hours. But I need feedback on Poster. I'll be sending it this week.

    Aww! My pal. You mentioned me and the fact that I think I'm dying! *sob* Actually, I might be a little better today. You sure cheered me up though. *squeezin' you tight*

    And what a precious pic of Macy and Peaches! I love those two. Smooches for both of them.

    Brain skip. Been there, done that. Uh-huh. Yay Sheri and Sue! Woot, woot!

  10. Love the picture!

    It sounds like you got some great feedback.

    I'm doing NaNoWriMo. :)

  11. That is some awesome feedback! You know you're on the right track when you're already doing what she suggested! :)

  12. You know it's great feedback when it rings true to you like that. Congrats on a super crit.

    No Nano for me. My 17 year old started, but school got in the way.

    I did finish my WIP however and it goes out to be reviewed by my agent Monday...hooray!

  13. That's great feedback! Good luck turning it into a middle grade novel. I'm excited for you, Sharon!


  14. That's a wonderful critique. Happy writing to you as you make it a MG.

    I'll go visit Robyn.

    I love chocolate, but I love my pets more.

    I'm not doing NaNo.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  15. I'm glad you had such a great critique experience. Good for you! :) I've never done NaNoWriMo, but I may try it one of these Novembers.

    I really like that photo. So cute! Yes, I LOVE our dogs and my daughter's bunny.

  16. Love that photo! And sounds like you got some great feedback -- congrats!

    I'm not doing NaNo or working on a picture book! Maybe next year...

  17. Nicki and Derry, to that last question. :-) Any fur companion will be loved more than chocolate--and that says a lot. LOL.

    Sweet, sweet photo.

    You've been very busy--good luck! Thanks for visiting us at Fuzzy Tales!

    -Kim and the boys (under my own account)

  18. Sounds like you got a great critique!!

    Yep, I'm participating in NaNo and it's hard work with all the other commitments I have. I don't know how you could even contemplate doing both NaNo and PiBo. ;)

  19. I have not been reading blogs lately. It has been crazy at work. When companies try to cut corners they rotate people. Coming upfront from being behind the scene is a change that requires a lot of change in appearances ie dressing up, jewelry etc versus being in sneekers and glasses and clip boards in hand. Well, I get to see a lot of happy people, so I cannot complain.
    Reading your blog is a good escape, thanks !

  20. What an encouraging critique - and that's great you'd already started revising your PB into an MG novel. Good luck with it!

    Sweet photo! My son has an adorable puppy named Jasmine - Jazzy for short. I babysit her often and adore her.

  21. First of all, congrats on such a great critique, Sharon! Kudos to you! Second, thank you for sharing that lovely picture of Macy and Peaches. It made me smile :)
    To answer your questions:
    I'm not participating in NaNo this year. Unfortunately, I'm swamped with work :(
    Definitely! I will always love my pets more than chocolate. I'm not a chocolate lover ;) (But even if I loved chocolate, my pets come first).

  22. Lovely photo!

    Yay for the awesome critique!

  23. Thanks for sharing your critique for us to learn from, Sharon. I am not participating in either but I'm revising and starting a new project :)

  24. Fun and interesting reading what was said about your manuscript! Sounds like you got some great feedback. I love SCBWI conferences! Such a great opportunity. :) And that is a SWEET photo, yes indeed.

  25. It sounds like your conference was great! :o)

  26. I knew I couldn't fully commit to NaNo, but I wanted to set some kind of word count goal. I don't usually go for word counts but it seemed like what I needed to get into gear. I challenged myself to writing 20,000 words, and already I'm over 13,000. For someone who was in a complete block a month ago, it's a real thrill!

  27. My husband's been working on a picture book so this post comes at a fantastic time for me - it really does sound like a tough market!

  28. You got great feedback! That is awesome! As to pets, I want one so much but the timing isn't right yet. Someday I'll have a dog again.
    No, not doing NaNo--just revising my romance:)

  29. That's some fabulous feedback! Congrats on it! And congrats on already starting the process of turning it into a MG novel! So very cool.

  30. Awwww. Your dog and kitty are adorable.
    I have two dogs: a spunky 2 yr old and a sweet blind 14 yr old. They are so snuggable!

    And you received very valuable and positive feedback!!!

  31. Hi, Sharon. What you learned is great! Questions we can expand for other genres, too.

    I'm not doing NaNo because I already had a novella-length ghost-written memoir I was trying to get up on Smashwords and Kindle, which I just did today! Can't believe I figured it out all by my (old) self! I'll announce it on my blog in a few days when it goes live on Kindle.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  32. Lovely response for your PB, Sharon. Congrats on all that feedback. Good luck with your MG! That's exciting!

    As always, love your dog photos.

  33. Oh this is just the CUTEST!!!! Don't you LOVE it when furry friends get along?? It makes me happy. Someone to cuddle with ~ life doesn't get much better than that.

    I for sure love my Banjo more than chocolate! :)

    Hope you are having a wonderful week Sharon!
    xo Catherine

  34. Hi Sharon,
    Delighted to see Macy with such a special furry friend. Makes for such an adorable photo :)
    Some very constructive feedback noted :)
    I never participate in any of those writing competitions. It wouldn't be fair on the others:) No, actually, I cannot string a cohesive sentence together.
    I wish to thank you for your kind and supportive comment on my latest posting, Sharon. I'm very grateful.
    Virtual hugs to all,

  35. First of all, I LOVE that picture! Macy's looks like such a wonderful big sis!

    I also love the Pals portion of your post - what a wonderful idea!

    And hooray for Quinlan Lee - she's amazing and so incredibly nice.

  36. I just posted about our pets last week. A yorkie, a canary, and a fish. No cats though as wifey is allergic to them.

  37. cute picture. i already said get well to miss robyn.

  38. I seriously love your pals post! Such a kind thing to do. Macy looks precious with her little pal, by the way.

    So glad you had such a positive experience at your SCBWI! I bet you're feeling inspired now!

  39. I once had a bunny rabbit but I ate it. It was made of chocolate.

    Best selling author Lani Diane Rich visits
    Tossing It Out
    Wednesday November 16th.

  40. I do not have a pet I love more than chocolate (I'm not a pet person and it has nothing to do with allergies). However, I love your photo! Why is it snuggly dog and cat pics are so cute?

    On a different note, it's good to hear you got what you wanted out of the conference. I think conferences can be hit or miss depending on what you want to learn or pick up from one. Best of luck in the rewrites! (And yeah, I've always heard that historical in children's fiction is a hard sell.)

  41. Wow, what great comments! Quinlan Lee was just at the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI conference I attended here in Virginia. She was very awesome! How neat you got a critique from her.

    And you are brave to share what you learned. I find it fascinating!

  42. You are just full of amazing information! I will check out some of the picture book ideas because it is a secret dream of mine to be Dr. Suess the second.