Writing UP, Not Down, to Kids
with Linda Smith
Suzy-Q sets mic up for Linda Smith.
Verla: two minutes to workshop time.
Suzy-Q: would you like lemonade or ice water Linda?
Verla: I want both, sq
Verla pushes Linda aside...
Suzy-Q: Verla behave!
Lyra_: play nice, Verla
Verla: too many cops in here
Suzy-Q: Linda get first choice.
Verla: Linda...are you ready?
Suzy-Q: testing testing.......
Suzy-Q: yep mic is working.
*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Writing UP, Not Down to Kids workshop in Progress
Verla: For the new people, we don't do any hellos or goodbyes or personal chitchat during the workshop hour
Verla: but we encourage participation in the topic discussion...and fun/joke statements are FINE
Linda: Let me get coffee!
Verla: yes, Linda
Suzy-Q get Linda a big pot of coffee.
Linda: Got it
Verla: Okay, Linda AKA Linda Smith, gave me some things to "cut and paste" for her, to make the workshop go a little faster/smoother.
Linda: Go ahead Verla, and thanks
NOTE: Linda Smith is talking:
Hi everyone. Most of you know me, but for those who don't, I'll bore you with a small introduction. My name is Linda Smith. I live in (but don't claim as my home) Dallas, Texas. I have eight children, homemade and adopted, three dogs (including a Chihuahua named Chrysanthemum, for my favorite Kevin Henkes character) and one husband who is my best friend. I have been writing since I was a small girl, filling up endless notebooks throughout the years, and am an avid reader.
I had the good fortune to have had a brother who passed this passion and his books on to me as a young girl, from Lolita to Catcher In The Rye. I rarely read children's books as a child, but fell in love with them as an adult, soaking in all that I missed as I read to my own children.
Though I have been writing children's light verse poetry for many years, I seriously began writing in prose about two years ago, and at the same time decided I would learn as much as I could about the art of writing picture books. The first true picture book I wrote was The Inside Tree, and it was also the first book I had accepted for publication.
Recently a good friend and fellow writer referred me to her agent, and his enthusiasm and belief in my writing paved the way for my first sale. I sold both The Inside Tree and a young adult novel, Nobody's Business, to Harper Collins a few months ago. Following those sales, two more picture books, one in verse, sold again to Harper Collins, all in a span of five and a half weeks.
Verla: Okay, Linda...you are on.
Linda: This workshop is about writing UP not Down - something I really feel is important when we write for kids
Linda: Before we start, I just want to tell you that my phone Line is precarious and I might get booted. If I do, just carry on without me and I'll be right back...
Verla picks Linda up and starts carrying her offstage... "but why you want to be carried off is beyond me...and...OOOF! You are HEAVY, too!"
Linda: Not THAT heavy!
Linda: Have you ever read a book that had a marvelous passage in it that you just couldn't forget?
Lyra_: Unfortunately my memory loves a passage while I'm reading it, but forgets later
Linda: Verla...go ahead with the other cut and paste
NOTE: Linda is talking:
At one of my Dallas critique groups recently, a new member showed up with a picture book for critique. After reading, there were many comments, but I sensed that none of us were being much help. He had an anthropomorphic wind playing with a little boy, and at the end of the day, Lady Wind rocked the child to sleep.
It was a cute idea, and a good one too, but he agreed that it might be "sweet" to the point of giving the reader a toothache. I wish I could have disowned my own tongue for what came out of my mouth next, but in essence, I suggested he take his story home and just...just...write it like a man.
Fortunately, he laughed. But later, on the way home, I realized what I had MEANT to say. I think every story I have ever loved reading to my kids, as well as their absolute favorites, have been written with an adult voice aimed high at a child. Here's a good example, from Amos and Boris, by William Steig;
"One night, in a phosphorescent sea, he marveled at the sight of some whales spouting luminous water; and later lying on the deck of his boat gazing at the immense, starry sky, the tiny mouse Amos, a little speck of a living thing in the vast living universe, felt thoroughly akin to it all....."
When Steig aimed at his young readers, he sent the words flying. He didn't stop to think, as he wrote each word, if it was beyond a seven year old's vocabulary. He just wrote. And he told a good story. That's what this workshop is about, "Writing Up, not Down." Children spend their entire childhoods looking up to us. It only makes sense, then, that we should live up to their expectations when we write for them.
Lauriel: Since we, as writers, also think about the parent appeal of a book, do you think there is a danger in writing to the parent instead of the child while we try to write up to the child?
Verla: Oh...GOOD question, Lauriel
A-Suen: I think that the books that "work" appeal to more than one level, both parent and child
A-Suen: They have to have "layers," too, telling more than one "story" if you will, at once
Linda: yes, I think it has to appeal to both on the PB level
Linda: When I write a story, I do this
Linda: I think of the child when I start putting the basics of my story together
Linda: and then I don't think of the child again until I've told my story
Linda: That's when I start to revise
Linda: and think of simpler, more direct ways of showing my story
A-Suen: you write to the heart of your own experience then?
Linda: I let my characters tell the story
Linda: I have found they do a far better job than I could ever do
Verla: Like...what would the child enjoy hearing about?
Verla: What subject matter would this child like to explore?
Lauriel: When you read the book to your kids do you find it easier to tell if you've written words that are too sophisticated or a plot that's just too complicated?
A-Suen: are you more than one character in the story?
Lyra_: I find this interesting, since I write for older kids, I tend to write what I enjoy, not thinking of a child
Gail: But when I use a large word, such as Verla's example 'luminous', my critique partners always say it is too hard a word for the child. Change it.
Gail: And when I fail to explain something like appearance which will show in the pictures, my critique partners tell me to describe it more. When I describe it more, they say cut that, the pictures will show it. It is a no win.
Verla: My picture books have VERY complicated words in them...
Verla: For instance, I have "Mucky, muddy, wet terrain" in one of them - and my editor told me that's one reason they bought them...because they had such fun, interesting words in them that "painted" a great picture for the kids
Verla: Terrain, falter, flounder, mucky, swelters, parched, frigid ... those are some of the "hard" words in my first picture book.
Lawhee: not always Gail
Lyra_: I've learned that you don't change the words like that in a picture book
Linda: Gail, I would never change the word luminous to something simpler, like glowing
Lyra_: And I don't change them for an older audience either
NOTE: In this case, "older" means middle grade and young adult stories.
A-Suen: how will they learn if you never use big words? My mentor told me to stretch their imaginations with language
whatever: yah.... seems to me that the only way to expand a child's vocabulary is to use words they don't know (yet)
Linda: The way a word is USED is so much more important to a child's understanding than the word itself
Lauriel: Seems like some words DO cry out to be changed, but not all the time.
Lyra_: I learned MANY words from reading over my head--of course I often pronounced them wrong
A-Suen: context clues, and the pictures help, too! :)
Verla: And if you make the meaning of the word clear IN the story, then they can figure out what it means just by the context...don't want them to have to carry a dictionary around
Linda: You shouldn't write thinking you'll send a kid to the dictionary, but visual words like luminous are easy to understand
Verla: (I STILL pronounce a lot of words wrong. But I know what they mean!)
A-Suen: and the picture book is a lap read - someone is there to explain it, too
Linda: Here is an example of beautiful writing
Linda: From Peach and Blue
Linda: By Sarah Kilborn
Linda: The green of the moss
Linda: of the reeds, of the grass
Linda: the red of my skin, of the ladybug's back
Linda: the blue of your belly,
Linda: of afternoons sky
Linda: The brown of the bank, of eider ducks eye
Linda: The poetry is smooth and lovely
Lauriel: kids hear the music in the words
Lyra_: It's interesting how fine a line it is between poetry and picture book/poetry
A-Suen: and the pictures are there for all to "see"
Linda: The words SAY what the author wishes them to convey, but they also SOUND in a way that explains everything
A-Suen: poetry is spoken music :)
Linda: When you write, I think it's important to feel you are writing for an equal
Lawhee: with an equal sense of humor as well
A-Suen: I agree
Linda: Kids spend their whole lives looking UP to us, and then so many times, we talk DOWN to them
Lauriel: If you think of kids as though sweet little ones instead of people you get into trouble
Linda: Here is what an editor told me in Florida at a workshop I attended
Linda: She critqued my piece and wrote
Linda: Your language is old world and beautiful, but
Linda: I'm afraid you were born in the wrong century if you want to be published
A-Suen: oh no!
Linda: Yes! and then she went on to say,
Linda: "study the market. Write for it. THEN try to slip some of this stuff past an editor
Linda: I was crushed and disapointed
KarmaWilso: Hey, you slipped FOUR books past the editor!!!
Lyra_: didn't slip BY an editor--they all wanted it!
KarmaWilso: Wow. :-)
A-Suen: I tried writing for the market. it never works!
Linda: and I DID try to write "for the market"
Linda: So true Anastasia
Linda: I couldn't either
Linda: Yes, that piece sold!
Lyra_: I wrote for the market when I was doing teen romances--that worked fine then
Lyra_: But it wouldn't work for picture books
Hollybyrne: How do you try to write for the market
Linda: well, there are trends, Holly, and because picture books are expensive to produce this editor felt no one would take a chance on anything TOO different
Hollybyrne: I can't imagine writing differently, then what just comes out
Lyra_: Bet she wasn't one of the editors who were vying to get your books!
Linda: Yes, the bottom line is, write from the heart
Linda: and only YOU can do that...from your own...and not someone else's heart
Hollybyrne: If everyone is trying to write with the trends, don't you think editors would want something fresh?
KarmaWilso: It's the writers that write "beyond" the market that become classics in my opinion.
A-Suen: I agree, karma
Lyra_: that's VERY true, Karma
Lyra_: My "market" books are already out of print
Verla: When I wrote my picture books, a LOT of people told me they would never sell...
Verla: Because a lot of the words in them were "too difficult" for kids to understand.
Linda: Does anyone have any favorite passages or lines to share?
Verla: One of my FAVORITE phrases is in Wish Magic...a beginning chapter book by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff.
Verla: It's the beginning of the book.
Verla: "Don't blow up the house, Morris," said Mom. "It's not paid for yet. "
Moriss blinked behind the frames of his thick glasses. He was reading a book called, All About Combustion. "I'll try not to," he said.
Lyra_: I found a passage which is in a very old book about a young child
Lyra_: In this book, there's a part where the young girl (age 5 or 6) had hidden and no one could find her
Lyra_: The little girl was getting used to a new family after losing her parents and when they find her hiding in a tree, they ask why she didn't answer when they called, and she says...
Lyra_: "She bent her face down into the branch, and the tree rocked her gently. There was such silence in our woods you'd have thought every twig and grass blade was standing on tiptoe to listen. Then she turned up her face and looked at me. "This is the Mummy-tree," she said. "It's holding me on its lap."
KarmaWilso: Um, I have one. "This is NOT a very cozy arrangement." is my favorite picture book line.
KarmaWilso: It's in this great book called the Inside Tree
Hollybyrne: Mine too Karma
Linda: hahahha Karma!! Mr. Potter and I thank you
KarmaWilso: by a wonderful writer called Linda Smith.
KarmaWilso: She's a very close friend. *feeling important now!*
Linda: And that was TRULY Mr. Potter speaking...I just wrote the words
Hollybyrne: Do you know her Karma? Cool. Get her autograph
Lawhee: There's one from a silly book that we still quote all the time at my house. "This farm is a mess!"
A-Suen: touch magic and pass it on - jane yolen (from the book touch magic)
A-Suen: she was such a character!
Linda: I love her
whatever bounces :)
Verla: Jane Yolen's book, Sleeping Ugly:
"One day Princess Miserella rode out of the palace in a huff. (A huff is not a kind of carriage. It is a kind of temper tantrum. Her usual kind.) " ** this is an easy reader chapter book
Lyra_: I love SLEEPING UGLY...want to find it somewhere
Verla: Sid Fleischman's book...McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm starts out like that...
Lyra_: He writes very unusual stories
Verla: "There has been so much tomfool nonsense told about McBroom's wonderful one-acre farm that I had better set matters straight. I'm McBroom. Josh McBroom. I'll explain about the watermelons in a minute."
Lawhee: OOh Verla. I'm interested in reading THAT!
Verla: Lawhee...it's an early chapter book. Beech Tree Chapter Book
Lawhee: Thanks V
whatever: Now, granted, mine haven't sold yet, but I had three people tell me no one would buy my favorite story...... you just have to pretend you're deaf, I think.
A-Suen: does anyone remember grandfather twilight? a little ole man takes a pearl out of a case, and goes to the beach and sets it free, and it becomes the moon
Linda: Thats beautiful, Anstasia
Lawhee: one I remember from 3rd grade--a silver slipper of a moon
KarmaWilso: Owl and Pussycat.
ClaraRose: one of my favorites is 'A thistle can not grow where a rose is tended'
Lauriel: In All the Places to Love, I like the line "where ducklings follow their mother like tiny tumbles of leaves.
Gail: I like the Calico Dog and the Gingham Cat...Side by side on the table sat...
Hollybyrne: Gail, I love that one
Lyra_: I know that one, Gail!
Verla: I love the Winken, Blinken & Nod poem...
Verla: and that whole POEM is a treasure of "special" words
Linda: Yes, Verla, Eugene Feilds was a master at writing beautiful words
Linda: Does everyone own a thesauras?
KarmaWilso: Yea, it's on my word processor.
Verla: I do! I do! I use the Family Word Finder by Reader's Digest
Verla: (And I think it's a LOT better than Roget's, too!)
A-Suen: I call it my magic word book. I bring it when I teach poetry in the schools
Linda: That's exactly what this is all about!
KarmaWilso: Introducing words in picture books is perfect, because pictures can pick up and clue in on meaning.
Linda: and sometimes, I believe my children "get it" far better than I do
KarmaWilso: If a child sees a picture of a child parading, and the word says Promanading, they get the picture, no pun intended.
Linda: One thing you will learn when you write picture books though
Linda: is that you have to leave ROOM for the pictures
Linda: so descriptive writing has to be kept to a minimal
Hollybyrne: My daughter once told me that the word "peace" meant "leave mom alone
KarmaWilso: Holly, that's hilarious.
A-Suen: if you write too much, the kids start to wiggle
Donnasmith: Sometimes its hard because you want to describe what you "see" in your head
Linda: Choose your words very wisely, and leave room for the pictures
Lyra_: I hate description...should have studied picture books earlier in my career
A-Suen: rewrite, rewrite rewrite
KarmaWilso: Chop, chop, chop, all those lovely words!
KarmaWilso: Flung away with the press of "delete".
A-Suen: Use them in another book
Hollybyrne: It's sad Karma
Linda: Yes! I have lost many beautiful words along the way and every one hurts terribly
KarmaWilso: Wonderful snippets, so close to my soul!
Lauriel: "Spose good description is like putting just the right amount of cinnamon in an apple pie, too much and you know it but sprinkle just the right amount and it's yummy
Lyra_: Part of being a professional writer is letting go...I've let go of whole books
Linda: But then later, you can go back and "pluck" a passage that got cut and recycle it for another story
Hollybyrne: I spent 2 hours on one sentence for a story, and my crit group, suggested I toss it. AHEM
Lyra_: true, Linda
KarmaWilso: It's tragic Holly!
A-Suen: entire scenes from different books will reappear one day at your fingertips!
Lyra_: you never WASTE anything. My favorite saying is that writers are the ultimate recyclers
Linda: One time my husband left with the kids so I could write
Linda: Four hours later, he came back home and I had written ONE sentence
A-Suen: too quiet?
ClaraRose: Ha ha ha... no.. I think chewing on it...
Lyra_: but for a picture book, one sentence equals ONE chapter like my mid-grades
Linda: But what he didn't realize was that I had rewritten that sentence fifty times!
Hollybyrne: Sounds familiar Linda
Lawhee: but what if you don't write 'beautiful' words?
Verla: Putnam cut one of my FAVORITE verses out of Iron Horses...
Verla: Lurching, jerking,/Clickety-clack./Chugging, puffing,/Down the track.
KarmaWilso: Oh, the agony Verla!
Lyra_: you'll come up with a book for it, Verla (of course, it'll probably get cut again)
ClaraRose: I like that one... Verla
Katej: Verla, that does sound like a good verse for another book.
Verla: But they also wanted to cut THIS one...and I "cried" so loudly that they DID leave IT in...
"Black clouds skuttle,
A-Suen: that's wonderful verla
Hollybyrne: Love that Verla
Lyra_: that's a good one, V
Linda: OK...put your thesauras away and we'll play a game
Linda: Everyone ready?
Linda: In one word, describe the moon
Lyra_: cheesy (g)
Verla: ONE word?
Verla: Auuuugh! That's HARD...Let me think ... how about ... silveryglowingorb
Lyra_: (that's cheating, V!)
ClaraRose: LOL.... cheating! Verla!
Verla goes into the corner for cheating
Linda: Cheesy makes me hungry!
Linda: So much better than saying the moon!
Katej: holly... that's pushing it..
Hollybyrne: it's the best I could do
Linda: I called the moon a lantern light
Linda: and the kids had no question that the moon is what I was talking about
Verla: TWO words, Linda!
Lyra_: of course, Linda uses two words
Verla: You used TWO words
Linda: I'm wordy! Even at my own game!
Lauriel: so what is writing down to kids, anyway?
Linda: OK...that was the NEXT part of the workshop
Lawhee: forgetting that they are thinking beings
Lyra_: If you critique other's people work, you can see clearly where they are preaching to kids ; writing down
A-Suen: talking to them like they have no brains (sigh)
Lyra_: And then sometimes you even recognize it in your own work
Linda: Writing down to kids is when you use terms YOU believe only they are familiar with
Lyra_: Or when you write something as a LESSON for them, instead of entertainment
Verla: Kind of like reverting to the "Dick and Jane" style of writing?
whatever: lauriel: "And then daddy told them, next time you should pick berries with your FINGERS", and they all nodded, happy to have learned something." that's writing down. :)
A-Suen: save that for the educational stuff - textbooks, etc
Linda: OK....How many of you feel that writing picture books should be to teach a child something?
A-Suen: and even in textbooks, they want beautiful language
ClaraRose raises her hand....
whatever: nooooooo.... picture books are for entertainment!
Verla: I teach in mine, Linda
Donnasmith: You should sneak a lesson in without them knowing
Lawhee: NO! It is for entertainment:_)
whatever: to get them interested in reading, or to lull them to sleep!
Verla: But...I teach without letting them know I'm teaching...
Linda: Verla, I think you teach with entertainment
_MS_SASE: They might, but that is not their first job
A-Suen: you always "teach" when you write, because you share your own experience
KarmaWilso: Not I.
Katej: I'm teaching in mine that I'm writing....
KarmaWilso: Unless you mean it should teach them to love reading. :-)
Hollybyrne: You just want them to think books are fun
Lyra_: that, too, Karma
Linda: The way we best "teach" in a picture book is by sneaking it in...
Lyra_: books ARE fun
Hollybyrne: Tell my son that
Donnasmith: Isn't learning supposed to be fun? :)
Linda: If something is fun and amusing, kids learn
whatever: well, you CAN teach by telling them what they want to know about a subject they want to learn about. science, history, nature, animals.... but only if they WANT to learn it :)
A-Suen: the character changes, that's a learning experience
Lawhee: Don't TRY to teach/preach
KarmaWilso: Many times the lesson will follow the story naturally, and the author will only realize it's there later..
KarmaWilso: IF they keep the story first.
Lyra_: non-fiction is for teaching...
Linda: and in fiction writing, the ONLY thing I try to teach, is a love for reading
Verla: Hmmm. What I do is tell an interesting story...but EVERY fact is accurate historically in my story...so they learn a little about history while they enjoy the story.
Lyra_: (like whale bones, huh, Verla?)
KarmaWilso: As the character learns so will the child.
Lyra_: But you have subtle messages about life in your stories, Linda
Lawhee: Hooray for reading!!
A-Suen: fiction teaches life-lessons
Lauriel: For concepts books, Yes, but it must be done in a creative entertaining fun way.
Lawhee: kids can spot a lesson a mile away
Linda: Kids can smell a 'text" book a mile away too
A-Suen: even concept books have to tell a story
Lyra_: I've heard that some colleges study paperback fiction to learn about cultures
Linda: Preachy language is the worse
Hollybyrne: I wonder if those that write down to kids, don't have kids themselves. Or are too far removed from their childhood.
Linda: summing up at the end is awful
Donnasmith: I agree
Lawhee: I HATE those kind of books!
Verla: Ah...like at the end of the story they tell the "MORAL"...as in the old Aesop's fables!
whatever: and the moral of this story is, hare today, goon tomorrow!
Linda: sermons are for Sundays!
A-Suen: I think it's an attitude too - I know more than you - I'm "better"
Lawhee: Exactly. Suen
Dani23: And so Sammy Squirrel learned stealing was wrong
Lyra_: ah ha!
Linda: Kids books have long been judged by adults for their "adult appeal"
Hollybyrne: Well, the kids think they know more than us. "Don't you know anything Mom?" is my daughters favorite saying
Linda: as if the kid wouldn';t have gotten it!@
Lyra_: they're smarter than adults think they are--and they know it
Linda: I think kids just want a good entertaining story...just like adults do
Lawhee: I think many writers don't realize it when they are moralizing
Hollybyrne: Maybe that's why the Dick and Jane stories are obsolete. Kids are different than we were as kids. They know so much now.
Lyra_: information is just a computer or TV show away--lots out there for kids
whatever: you didn't know anything as a kid?
Verla: I learned to read on the Dick and Jane books..they were BORING!
Lyra_: I didn't know what MY kids know...that's for sure
KarmaWilso: I think kids are the same, adults just realized kids HATE Dick and Jane.
Hollybyrne: No, I was naive. Kids today are much more wordly. TV, Computers, they know about everything
Gail: I don't moralize. I stick in facts. My fault!
Linda: When adults write for teens I notice the same things
Lyra_: Actually I kind of liked the Dick & Jane type books
Linda: adult writers trying to "sound" like a teenager
Verla: I remember reading those horrid phrases over and over and over...
Linda: Cool man
Hollybyrne: Sure, I did too, but my kids would find them way too boring
KarmaWilso meant no offense to Dick and Jane fans. *see karma apologize*
Lawhee: But verla, didn't you read between the lines? I had Dick and Jane doing much more than the words said. That family had adventures in my head!
Hollybyrne: Little kids are like small teenagers
Verla: Jump, spot. Jump. Jump fast. Jump fast, spot. Jump fast.
Verla: Jump. Jump. Jump.
KarmaWilso: Jump off the cliff spot.
KarmaWilso: Before I throw you!!!
Lyra_: nope, Karma, too hard of words for them (g)
Lyra_: I read the ones after Dick & Jane...did more stuff
Linda: I think what kids liked about Dick and Jane is that they were predictable and safe
whatever: see spot run. run, spot, run!
Gail: I looked at Dick and Jane from the reading angle. Could I read the words? I so wanted to be able to read. I don't remember much about the story. My dad carried a lunchbox. The Dad in D & J carried a briefcase. I couldn't relate except to the WORDS.
Hollybyrne: Maybe thats why we are so creative, we had to make up our own stories about Dick and Jane
Lawhee: i liked the pictures
A-Suen: i just wanted to learn how to read. it was so magic!
Linda: So true!
Lauriel: Kids like predictability, but they like SURPRISE.
Linda: WE learned to write along with our reading skills
KarmaWilso: When I came across Where the Wild Things are I thought, Oh wow, this is how GOOD reading can be!
KarmaWilso: Max was my hero!
Lyra_: I enjoyed reading WILD THINGS to my son--he memorized it in first or second grade
Linda: Do you know it took five years to write Where The Wild Things Are?
Lauriel: there's an opera on Where the Wild Things are, that's great.
Lyra_: ah--he was slower than Verla (WILD THINGS)
Linda: Does anyone have any questions?
Lawhee: yes, I do not write beautifuly. I love words, but mine aren't pretty. Is there room for this in children's writing?
Verla: Lawhee, there is always room for a new point of view in children's writing. They need all kinds of styles to satisfy all children's taste. Yes! There is room for you, too.
Lyra_: My favorite advice is just to READ...how many kid books have you read this week?
Lyra_: This month? (Challenging everyone!)
A-Suen: this month! for work or for pleasure?
Lyra_: For work AND pleasure
Dani23: I read Ella Enchanted for the first time yesterday
A-Suen: for work - 70 (I'm writing again!!)- for pleasure - 3
Lyra_: Great, Anastasia!
Linda: OK everybody, I want to share a quote
Linda: This is from The Letters Of Ursula Nordstrom
Linda: she passionately believed that children wanted "something more" in children's books
Linda: and changed the way writers viewed them
Linda: She was with harper Collins for years, one of the very first children's editors
Linda: she wrote
Linda: I want to produce good books, for bad children
Linda: Does anyone want to guess what she meant?
KarmaWilso: She wanted to write books that children could love, because they were about real children
Lawhee: LOL! She wanted books to be for and about ALL children
KarmaWilso: Children that enjoy playing in mud.
KarmaWilso: and getting berry juice on their face...
Gail: As you age you can speak your mind. You do not have to worry where a paycheck is coming from. I am there!
Linda: Here are some of the titles that were, in that day, considered groundbreaking
Linda: Goodnight Moon
Linda: Charlottes Web
Linda: Where The wild Things Are
Linda: Harold and the Purple Crayon
Linda: and The Giving Tree
whatever: ooooh. you're listing my favorites!
Lawhee: All classics!
Lyra_: Linda is destined to publish classics
Linda: all these books were considered daring
KarmaWilso: Especially Charlottes Web.
Linda: a spider had never before been written about as anything but "bad"
Lyra_: daring is just doing something different...not easy for publishers
Linda: but in charlottes web, she was a friend...and smart too
Dani23: Charlotte's Web is one of the few books I'd call perfect
Gail: I have a few spider stories.
Hollybyrne: Now we have Captain Underpants
A-Suen: not with their bestseller attitude nowadays
Lyra_: In fact I heard of an editor saying they she/he used to get to publish one book a year that SHE wanted...but not anymore
A-Suen: sad, isn't it :(
Linda: I think Good Books For Bad Chidren is a perfect way to sum up this workshop
Lawhee: I'm claiming that quote for myself, Linda. It's perfect!
KarmaWilso: Think of the alternative. Bad books for good children!
A-Suen: yikes, karma!
Linda: Don't write what you expect an adult THINKS a child will like
KarmaWilso: And yet, so many try just that.
Linda: and don't write like a child
Linda: write like a man!!!
Linda: or woman
KarmaWilso: No sexism...
KarmaWilso: he he he.
Lawhee: don't write what is hot for the sake of 'being in'
A-Suen: write what YOU like! Trying to sell it is the trick
Lyra_: I always write what I care about, but I always keep the market in mind; hoping for a place to fit this book in
Linda: and write for your audience believing that they are more than little unformed globs of protoplasm to shape and mold
KarmaWilso: Write what the market has forgotten.
KarmaWilso: Fill a void.
KarmaWilso: That's what all those above mentioned books did.
Lyra_: When I wrote cheerleading books, I made the characters and stories things I CARED about
Linda: That's what I did too, lyra
Lauriel: You can't write in a vucuum but you can't write what's not in your heart, right?
Lyra_: I know...that's because I'm a big kid
Lyra_: If I wasn't a big kid I wouldn't have ridden a teeter-totter and hurt my tailbone
Verla: But you are writing series books, lyra..and that is a lot different from Picture books...also...you NEVER write "down" to children in your books
A-Suen: no more tabla rasa
Verla: tabla rasa? What's that?
Linda: Does anyone have any final questions?????
Verla: What is tabla rasa?
A-Suen: an empty slate - latin or greek, I think
Linda:It's clearly pig latin Verla
A-Suen: ha ha
Verla: thank you, Suen
Lawhee: can I have your autograph?
Verla: I do NOT want Linda's autograph. Until it's in a BOOK of hers
Lyra_: I just mailed you MY autograph today, Linda
Linda: Yes! Dirty as the book may be!
Lawhee: I can't wait to get my copy!
A-Suen: when does you book come out Linda?
Linda: My latest picture book is about an old woman who loves dirt
Lauriel: Ha, Ha
Lyra_: I'm first in line for Verla's, then we can fight it out for Linda's
Lyra_: ah--so you weren't calling my autograph "dirty"
Linda: I think The Inside Tree will be out next fall
Lawhee: Hey! I didn't see that one.
ClaraRose: that is fast!
KarmaWilso: Mine is about a cowgirl that can't figure out how to ride a horse.
Lyra_: Next Fall is VERY fast for pic books
Verla: Yeah. I wait YEARS AND YEARS for my first one...
Lyra_: Cute, Karma
Lyra_: If I sell again, Verla, I wonder how soon it would be out (g)
KarmaWilso: So, she rides mountain bikes instead. It's just a seed of an idea.
redtail: now there's someting i can identify with, Karma <g>
A-Suen: who is the illustrator?
Linda: Katheryn Brown
A-Suen: what else did she illustrate?
Linda: She did The Old Woman Who Named Things and many others
Linda: I don't have a complete list yet Anastasia
A-Suen: we'll just check amazon! :)
Verla: Hey, this was a GREAT workshop, Linda!
Verla: Thank you zillions!
Verla: When is your next one, Linda?
Lyra_: APPLAUSE...requests for autographs...!
Linda: It was chatty! and I could hardly keep up, but such fun!
A-Suen: thank you! :)
Hollybyrne: Thanks Linda, can I have your autograph, too.
Gail: Very good, ladies. Keep on writing, all of us.
ClaraRose: Excellent Job!!!!
whatever applauds too
Verla: I have September 8th open, Linda...
Linda: You're all welcome.
redtail: clap! clap!
Lawhee: Lisa would whistle wildly if she could
Linda: Can I take a typing course first?
Hollybyrne: You gave me much to think about. Great stuff!
Gail: Clap, clap, clap.
Dani23: clap clap
Verla: lots of time to learn to type faster between now and then, Linda....
Lawhee: From one 'non-typer' to another. You did great!
Linda: Thanks Lisa
Verla: wonderful, Linda!
_MS_SASE: It was inspirational, thank you
Lyra_: just keep plugging on the YA, Linda, and your typing will speed up
Linda: Yes, if Harper Collins ONLY knew!!
whatever: there's typing games available these days. I learned to type with one... never took a formal course, but I type 80 words a minute :)
Linda: Linda can't type and they want a novel out of me!
Lauriel: Sorry if I jumped in on people, this chatting thing is kind of strange.
Lawhee: The problem isn't two finger typing...it's looking at the screen and then looking down to type
Linda: we're all strange Laurie
Verla: Oh, we ALL do that, laurie..it's part of being in a chat room
_MS_SASE: Shaaazam, whatever, I been working with a keyboard for 15 years and I'm not that fast
Linda: You fit right in!
whatever: don't look.... that's the secret. learn the keyboard with your fingers, so your fingers know where the keys are.....
Lauriel: I always say "Thanks" when someone tells me I'm strange
Linda: Me too!
Lyra_: I love to type...fast!
Linda: No wonder we're friends!
Hollybyrne: Strange friends
Linda: OK, Verla...I want a head count
Lyra_: Strange is nice...Very nice
Lyra_: It was a FULL room
Lauriel: Strange but true
Hollybyrne: Weird is better
Linda: If I didn't beat my agent's I'm gonna be MAD
Hollybyrne: And I've been called that before
Lyra_: Actually, it still IS a full room
Lyra_: beat your agent?
Lauriel: What's the rule here, are we supposed to leave?
Hollybyrne: Who beats their agent
Linda: yes, in head count for the workshop Lyra
Linda: Holly, where is your mind?? haha
Lyra_: ah--I think Steven had the most...although a LOT here tonight
whatever: laurie: no, don't leave until you feel like it.
Lawhee: I called him, Linda. and left a message
Lyra_: Besides, you beat MY workshop, Linda!
Linda: OK..I'll bow to his greater authority then
Lauriel: I wrote a nasty note to an agent last night just for my own entertainment
A-Suen: 18 are on now, Linda
Linda: You guys are too nice
Lyra_: I think I had 17 people when I talked on agents
Linda: Karma beat us all!
Lyra_: good therapy, Lauriel
ClaraRose: I read it, Lyra
Lawhee: She's wicked with a paddle!
Lyra_: ouch! Are you coming to national, Lauriel?
Lauriel: It'd be awful if he read it, and he hasn't even accepted me
Lyra_: the transcript or the agent slam note?
ClaraRose: the transcript
redtail: Thanks,Linda--sorry I missed the first half
redtail: I'll have to look on Verla's page (for the transcript)
KarmaWilso: Linda you did wonderful!!
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