Thursday, January 27, 2011

Giveaway WINNERS!!!

YAY!  Thanks to everyone who entered!  I know a lot of the entries came from Carrie Ryan tweeting about the ARC, and I know A LOT of you REALLY WANT that ARC.  I truly wish I had more than one to give away.  Especially because I just read it and it's FABULOUS.  Of course, all of these books are fabulous, or I wouldn't be giving them away... :)

So, without further ado, here are the WINNERS!

Winner of the signed copy of A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Jen Daiker!!!

Winner of the signed copy of Skinned by Robin Wasserman


Winner of the ARC of Shine by Lauren Myracle

Winner of the ARC of The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

YA Bibliophile!!!

Winners, if you included your email in your comment, look for an email from me soon.  If you did not include your email, please email me (you can find my email in my profile) with your mailing address! 

Congrats to the winners, and thanks again to everyone for entering!  I'm planning to attend the SCBWI FL Summer Workshop in June, and I'll have more books to give away then!

Larissa :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

SCBWI FL Conference Part 3 and one day left for the GIVEAWAY!

I hope I can do this post justice, as I'm running out of computer time...

I left off right before the Editor Panel about Fantasy (Fantasy Isn't Just For Wizards).  The editors (Kate Jacobs, Krista Marino, and Arianne Lewin) talked about what fantasy is (worlds not bound by our laws, fiction of the impossible) and about how there is a spectrum with realistic and fantasy on opposite ends.  They handed out a list of different fantasy genres and examples of each.  If you are curious about their examples for any category, let me know.  The panel also emphasized how much personal taste comes into publishing.  For example, Krista said she is pretty much over dystopian, but Arianne said she loves it. :)

The last presentation on Saturday was Robin Wasserman.  Her talk was called Two Truths and a Lie, and it was about using reality/truth to make your story believable.  She said all good fiction is realistic, and that the stories we love are ones we believe in.  She said when writing, bring in two truths: factual/concrete truth (can be from research) and emotional truth.  Then when you add the made up stuff, it feels real.  She also gave two resources to Google: "Slanguage: Teen Voices and Teen Vernaculars" by Scott Westerfeld and "Patricia Wrede Worldbuilding" (an exhaustive list of worldbuilding questions to ask yourself).

After that, it was time for critiques and then the Dragonslayers Ball!  Here are a few pictures from the Dragonslayers Ball.

This is me (as Toothless the dragon from How To Train Your Dragon), Christy Farley, and Jessica Souders

Karen Strong rocking the Viking look.

Christy taking a picture of me taking a picture--lol.  But look!  It's Harley May! :)

So, in other words, the Dragonslayers Ball was great fun. 

On Sunday, we had small workshops before the end of the conference.  My first workshop was with Arianne Lewin (Executive Editor at Putnam).  It was about self-revising, and it was fantastic!  First, she talked about how she revises with authors:
-She usually does at least three revisions before the book goes to copy-editing.
-She thinks pretty extensively about revisions before acquiring the novel.
-She said don't do revisions for someone, do them for the book.
-Her average editorial letter is 6-7 pages.
-And she said not to work on the book if you are waiting on an editorial letter.
Then she had us go through some of our own writing looking for things like exposition, non-said dialogue tags, etc.  She was using the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers for examples and such, and highly recommended it.  Since I have had others recommend it to me, I actually stopped on the way home and bought it.  LOL.

Overall, it was an amazing conference.  I obviously can't share everything with you, but I hope you picked up a helpful nugget or two, and I hope I've encouraged you to consider attending a local conference of your own!

Don't forget, my giveaway ends tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon EST, so make sure you've entered!

Larissa :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

SCBWI FL Conference Day 2

Saturday at the conference opened with an amazing presentation by Bruce Hale. It was called: Writer's Mind, Warrior's Mind - Toughing it out and getting published, and it was fantastic.
Here are a few takeaways from his talk:
-Writing is a game of head and heart.
-Writing is not for sissies.
-Art is war.
-Steps to take to get there:
1. Start a good habit habit: Look at things that are keeping you from writing and try to cut the time you spend on them.
2. Write like your hair was on fire: Write with passion.
3. Think it through, take the big view: Think strategically.
4. Teamwork makes the dream work: Cultivate support for your writing (family, friends, critique groups, etc.).
5. Face the iron tiger (fear): Fear is just resistance. Work on a small thing you're afraid of, and build up.
6. Beat resistance with persistance: Most people give up when they're just about to achieve success.

He finished by singing "You Gotta Be" and it was awesome! The conference was off to an amazing start!

Next, Rubin Pfeffer talked about the digital revolution. What I loved about this talk was how positive it was. Rather than the normal doom and gloom "books are dying" stuff that often accompanies discussions of digital publishing, he said "it's not instead of, it's in addition to." It was a great talk.

Then we had an agent panel with Erin Murphy, Michael Bourret, and Sarah Davies. Great takeaways from this panel were:
-There's no one measuring unit for measuring success.
-Be happy with your writing and keep growing.
-You are your own best advocate.
-Publishing is both bigger and smaller than you think. (This was where they mentioned Verla Kay's Blueboards multiple times. They said they go there, and they see what people say about them and about themselves.)
-Often, rewriting can be better than revising.
-Titles can be very important to what happens to your book.
-Take everything one step at a time.

Next was a First Pages Panel. The only thing I wrote down from this was "Make sure your descriptions are clear--especially in fantasy or non-contemporary."

The next presenter was Cinda Williams Chima. She was fantastic, and I must have been so captivated that I didn't write anything down. However, she has lots of great resources for writers on her website, so you should check it out:

Okay, I'm going to stop here, because I have three-four more presentations to talk about, plus the Dragonslayer's Ball pictures! I will try to post the rest tomorrow. Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Larissa :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

SCBWI FL Regional Conference Day 1: Novel Intensive

This was my fourth SCBWI FL conference, and I swear they get better every time.  I absolutely ADORE the Florida SCBWI chapter, and our Regional Advisor, Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld, gets AMAZING speakers.

The first day of the conference, I attended the Novel Intensive, lead by Joyce Sweeney, Erin Murphy, and Krista Marino (here is a link to everyone's bios). 

The day started with Erin Murphy talking about obstacles.  She had us imagine our ideal writing life, and then think about what obstacles keep us from that writing life.  Some of those obstacles are unavoidable, but some can be altered or adjusted.  She also had us write down resources we have to support our writing, both within ourselves (strengths/talents), and outside of ourselves (support systems).  Erin told us about a blog her clients are doing called Emu's Debuts, where some of her debut clients are going to blog about their experience from being agented to holding a published book in their hands.  Check it out!

Next, Joyce Sweeney tackled the scene.  She gave a fantastic example of the importance of staying in scene and avoiding narrative, as well as how every scene should have a full arc, just like the entire novel: orient the reader, inciting event, rising tension, turning point, raising the stakes, climax, & resolution and promise.  It was very eye-opening, and something I will be using to pick my WIP apart. :)

Then Krista Marino talked about voice.  She gave a list of elements that contribute to voice: diction, perspective, characterization, and dialogue.  She emphasized that a great story needs voice and plot, and that an authentic teen voice/perspective is key.  She gave the example of two movies which demonstrate the difference between teen and adult perspectives: 17 Again, and Big.  She said, "When you're young, everything feels like the end of the world."  And, "Your goal [as a writer] needs to be to erase your worldliness."  Finally, Krista emphasized the importance of inner monologue.  She said many of her editorial notes focus on this.  She wants to always know what the protagonist's thoughts and reactions are to what is happening to him/her.

At the end of the session, Erin Murphy talked about revision.  She emphasized getting distance and objectivity before starting a revision, and she gave some tricks some of her clients use to see big pictures in their manuscripts: shrunken manuscript (print four or more pages per sheet and lay them out on the floor), color coding for different story elements, using a spreadsheet to keep track of different elements and/or character arcs.  She also recommended making an outline after you write (if you're a pantser), changing the font and layout when you revise, read it out loud, keep a Dead Babies file for things you may need to cut but love too much to delete fully, and make or find checklists that work for you.

And that was the Novel Intensive!  They also read everyone's first page and critiqued them.  If you ever have an opportunity to listen to a first pages session, you should.  It's very eye-opening to hear agents' and editors' first reactions to a first page.

What did you think? Did you read anything here you hadn't heard before?  Don't forget to enter my Book Giveaway, and comment here to get an extra entry.  I'll be blogging about the second day of the conference tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Larissa :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm back! And that means...

It's time for the GIVEAWAY!!!

You are super lucky, too, because not only did I purchase two books to give away (and I had them signed!), but I got TWO ARCS at the conference, and I'm giving them away, too!

Here are the books you can win:

Signed copy of A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Signed copy of Skinned by Robin Wasserman

ARC of Shine by Lauren Myracle

ARC of The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

I know, right?

Alrighty. Here's how to enter:

1. Comment on this post:
-Current Followers (following before this is posted): 3 entries
-New Followers: 2 entries
-Non-Followers: 1 entry

2. Blog, tweet, or Facebook this contest: 2 entries per announcement (please leave links)

3. Add up your entries: 1 extra entry

4. Comment on my SCBWI Conference Round-up posts for an extra entry per comment (I will count these, so you don't need to add them to your total on this post).

5. This contest will end at noon EST on Tuesday, January 25, 2011. I will announce winners on Thursday, January 27.

Good luck, and thanks for reading! Be sure to come back this week (most likely Thursday and Friday) to read all about the amazing SCBWI FL Regional Conference. It was AMAZING!!!

Larissa :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year, New Blog Design

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had a wonderful, relaxing holiday.  Luckily, I still have the rest of the week before I have to go back to work. Yay!  I have been SUPER enjoying sleeping in.

As you can see, I have decided to switch templates for the new year.  I liked the pink and orange swirly background, but it's time for a change.  What do you think?  Do you like the fire?

If I ever get internet hooked up at home (grrrr), I have a picture that I might try to upload for the background instead... 

This background/design thing is hard!  How do/did you choose your blog and/or website design?

Anyway, don't forget I have the SCBWI FL Regional Conference coming up in less than two weeks!  Yay!  And that means tidbits and signed book giveaways for you when I get back.  If you know anyone who'd be interested, send them my way.  Remember, followers before the giveaway is posted get extra points. :)

Larissa :)