Saturday, December 11, 2010
Cafeteria Mystery Meat
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Manuscript Makeovers by Claudia Mills
Picture Books and Easy Readers
1. Make sure that what you have really is a picture book!
2. Focus in immediately on what the story is about.
3. Cut everything extraneous.
4. Don’t drop any balls.
5. Bring the story full-circle in a satisfying way.
6. Think hard about what your bottom-line theme/message is.
Chapter Books and Novels
1. Begin at the beginning: inciting incident.
2. Let us see by the end of the first chapter what the book is going to be about.
3. Don’t give too much back story in the first chapter.
4. Make sure your character has strengths as well as weaknesses.
5. Make sure your character has weaknesses as well as strengths.
6. Pace the main character’s growth appropriately.
7. Make sure your character is active rather than reactive.
8. Have your main character solve his central problem himself.
9. Avoid having too many characters.
10. Make sure all your characters are interesting and three-dimensional.
11. Once again: don’t drop the ball. Make use of everything!
12. Build tension.
13. Don’t allow things to go too well for your character.
14. Be true to your own self-descriptions of characters.
15. Foreshadow main events.
16. Don’t have crucial scenes happen offstage.
17. Make sure all the action relates in some way to the main story line of the book.
18. Be wary of copying too lavishly form real life.
19. But in a realistic novel, be realistic in details.
20. Clarify the theme.
21. Avoid didacticism: number one problem in endings!
22. Make the ending as satisfying as possible, without being over-the-top and unbelievable.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Giles is a gifted writer of suspense. Her imagery sparkles, her character development is flawless, and this page-turner positively crackles with excitement. Giles’s portrayal of Ames’s gradual loss of faith in her parents and friends is intensely realistic. Ames’s attraction to Marc is completely understandable, given the circumstances, but her levelheadedness and underlying love for her family win out in the end. Suspense lovers will savor this fast-paced psychological thriller.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Agent, also Author
Monday, July 12, 2010
We Like to Spread it Around.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Pet (Writerly) Peeves
we bow to the vagaries of usage at different rates. i myself continue to appreciate the difference between "anxious" and "eager" and am surprised, unhappily, to see writers conflate the two. another of my bugaboos: fewer vs less. Fewer units sold, so the book made less money is correct. Less buyers are to blame is wrong.
i hated seeing sneaked give way to snuck, but i feel that train left the station and cannot be brought back.
yesterday i told a writer his protagonist, in context, would not feel "disgust"; she would feel "disdain". the writer said, Why, they are indistinct. no, no, a thousand times no. the difference between those words, in context, is the difference between his character and another.
we welcome your slings and arrows.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
my topics are, respectively, The Misadventures of a Manuscript and Kid Lit: How to Break Into It. if you are in the neighborhood(s), come be edified. here are the details.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
A Conference! A Conference!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
GIRL PARTS signing at the BEA!
For those attending the 2010 Book Expo America in New York, I will be signing advanced copies of GIRL PARTS Wednesday 5-26 at Candlewick's booth. Hope to see you there!*
* you'd be a fool to miss it! --ST
Monday, March 22, 2010
Preditors and Editors and an Anecdote
we receive, on average, 85 queries a week. of these we reject 90% and request partials for ten percent. of these we request full manuscripts for about 40%. i take this relatively high percentage as proof that our requests are well reasoned.
the number of new clients we acquire remains very small, however. NOT THAT WE DO NOT WANT THEM. our latest client is a picturebook author— and this is highly relevant to note: we are not looking for picturebook authors; it means that talent is talent and we will jump when we see it. incidentally, this new client was discovered at an SCBWI regional conference and not through the transom..
i know i speak for my colleagues when i say that discovering new talent is our greatest delight.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Only the Young Die Good
My thoughts on mortality in teen literature, at The New Inquiry.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The Golden Age— Again
A Reissue! A Reissue!
here is one of those rare picturebooks honored with a second life. originally published by Harcourt in 2001, Barbara Goldin's Chelm tale is out in a new paperback edition from our pal Margery Cuyler at Marshall Cavendish. the story is set in the Catskills in the 1920s and celebrates Shavout— the Jewish holiday commemorating the day Moses received the Torah on Mount Sinai, which i would not have known without this book. it is delightful, charming, and satisfying (School Library Journal) and includes Barb's family receipe for cheese blintzes.
note to self: persuade Dunkin' Donuts to introduce its customers to cheese blintzes (license receipe?) and secure a premium co-edition of 18 million copies.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Via Agent Kristin of Pub Rants:
Let’s say a title will sell on Amazon or Apple’s iPad for $10.00 (might as well make it easy math).
Now let’s look at the difference between net receipts if the publisher absorbs the cost of the agency commission versus if they don’t in defining and calculating net receipts.
If Publisher absorbs commission:
eBook price: $10.00
25% of net royalty (all the rage with publishers as of late)
Royalty to author: $2.50 per title sold
If Publisher does not:
eBook price: $10.00
$7.00 received by publisher (after 30% sales commission to retailer)
25% of net royalty
Royalty to author: $1.75 per title sold
Yep, definitely worth the time to find out exactly how this term is going to be defined in the contract when it comes to electronic books.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
SCBWI Bologna 2010 Interview
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Last week one of our Kindles had a meltdown and lost months of submission (meaning hours of extra work culling our email and rebuilding our list). Amazon offered to replace the model, failing to mention there's a four-week delay while they back order (from where I wonder?) the original device. So I call Amazon and they tell me they can happily send me the next-generation immediately- FOR AN EXTRA $50 BUCKS!
So...device breaks and I can wait a month for it to be replaced, or I can spend more money to upgrade? Um, what?
Our voices are now hoarse, but Amazon will send us a Kindle 2.0, at no cost, via next-day mail. But why, I wonder, did we have to kick and scream? Shouldn't this have been standard business practice?
Apoplectic at Astor Place (jmc)
Monday, February 8, 2010
Harper and Hachette Join Macmillian in Kindle Dispute
Frankly, though my back doesn't miss carting around manuscripts, the rest of me misses good ol' fashioned paper.
Monday, January 25, 2010
It Takes a Village
that is how i understood the meaning of this story since the day it arrived.
HIGGLEDY-PIGGLEDY CHICKS marks Barbara Joosse's debut on the Greenwillow list. we are told Barnes and Nobel is especially hip on this book.
a behind the scenes tidbit: Barb's original title was FUZZY PEEPS. Harper changed it for fear of violating the trademark for the famous marshmallow candy, Peeps. frankly, we at STNY prefer the original title and find Harper's reasoning, well, peculiar. firstly, trademarks are granted in VERY specific categories, and a candy and book title are many miles apart; secondly, a title cannot be copyrighted or trademarked.
THE DARK DEEPS
get ye to a bookstore!
do you know. . . . Cyndy has sold OVER 13 million books worldwide? here you see why.
these four will be out next month, via Sterling, as part of a 12-book Cyndy Szekeres series. they are re-issues, and, frankly, quite the nicest of the many editions these books saw under the aegis of their original publisher Golden Books (Random House). they are also an upcoming MAIN SELECTION, thank you very much, of Children's Book of the Month Club.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Congrats to Award Winners!
Monday, January 11, 2010
Kirkus Lives Again!