April 2010

The NaPiBoWriWee Plunge

Okay, I’ve decided: I’m taking the NaPiBoWriWee challenge. Seven picture book manuscripts in seven days. And it starts at midnight tonight.


Deep breath.

Not sure how many I will actually manage to complete, but seeing as I have in my files at least seven ideas outlined or jotted down and a few random phrases recorded to develop further,  I might as well see if I can actually develop them into a story. Good thing no one’s saying you have to complete seven Good stories. My goal? I’m hoping to get at least one draft that I’d like to work on more.

Come on, join in! You know you want to…

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Kiboshing the Conference

Speaking with my volunteer SCBWI RA hat on for a moment, I recently had to put the kibosh on our Canada East spring conference because not enough people signed up. This made me sad.

I don’t think there was any one reason for the lack of registrations this year. It seemed like a weird confluence of individuals just not being able to make it this time. We had a killer lineup of speakers. It was frustrating but no worries, I get it, stuff happens. It got me thinking though.

Here’s the thing. There are so many resources available now on the internet for writers and illustrators. You can find out how to write a query letter from a whole bunch of agent blogs. You can read the latest tips on which editors are looking for what types of submissions. You can even find out what type of font and type size some people prefer to get submission in. It’s mind boggling the stuff out there if you know how to find it.

So why go to a conference at all?

Okay, I know why I go. But I don’t care about that right now. Let’s assume you could get to the place, afford the place, and have whatever babysitting or time off work or other support you’d need to be able to go. What do you look for in a conference? Is there anything you get from it/hope to get from it that you can’t get from someplace on the internet? Has the internet made a difference to what you look to get out of a conference? I’d like to know.

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Earth Day Unearths Some Weird Stuff

My kids’ school celebrated Earth Day today. Nice. The kids all participated in neighbourhood cleanup. Nice. When my kids came home they had to tell me all about it. Nice.

But what was weird was that two out of my three kids found kinda bizarre things thrown away in the bush close to the road. Things bizarre enough that it makes you wonder what sort of drama led up to them being discarded, abandoned, flung into the beyond.

One was a shoe.
The other was a lawnmower with a mangled blade and missing wheel.

Hunh. So who just chucks away those things? Don’t they both beg some sort of story!

(Luckily these two items were found quite a distance away from each other otherwise any story begging for both might best be written by Stephen King)

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Urban Interlude

If you’ve hung out here even a little you know that I’m a pretty rural gal. I live in and grew up in different rural areas. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like urban areas. I love the energy cities have, I LOVE the restaurants. They’re great fun to visit and they always make me appreciate my rural quiet when I return to it.

I’ve heard people around here complain they hate The City. They are referring to Toronto. I’m grateful my parents took my sisters and I to Toronto starting when we were quite young just so we could experience it. We rode the subway and took in the sights. We browsed the shops and strolled the sidewalks. It was loud, exciting, and confusing. It had rules, it was entirely different from our rural home, but I learned that it could be fun. I ended up working in The City for several years and don’t regret that at all.

So where am I going with all this? Last year was my year of writing for education markets, apparently. The last of those projects is now out. The Learn About Urban Life series looks at life in certain cities. I did Life in an Industrial City about Houston, Texas and Life in a Suburban City about  Los Angeles, California.

Thanks to the internet, I could do the research remotely with the help of local experts. I want to thank  veteran author Mary D. Wade as well as amazing photographer and author Sara Jane Boyers for their help and feedback on life in their respective cities. Rest assured that any (gulp) errors are not theirs! Hopefully one day I will get to visit these fascinating places.

Check out the other titles in the series from Crabtree Books: Life in a Commercial City by Trudee Romanek and Life in a Residential City by Helene Boudreau. Here’s to helping kids learn about all kinds of places in this wide world.

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.