Thursday, May 29, 2008

Brush with Fame in Baltimore

I'm enjoying a lovely view of the Inner Harbor from my room at the Hilton Garden Inn this evening. What I'd expected to be an utterly banal stay has in fact turned out to be quite the opposite.

I'd spent the day at a conference (alas, not related to writing) and came back to the hotel to find the lobby filled with a whole bunch of folks who looked, dressed and acted a lot cooler than me, and two camera crews and a humongo tour bus outside the front door. Turns out the Making the Band finalists are playing here tomorrow night and they're staying right here in this very establishment.

Sitting in the lobby were two ladies from Danity Kane (the second from the left and the fourth from the left).

I rode the elevator with a member of Day 26 (the dude with the corn rows), who helpfully explained to my clueless self who all these people were and why they were here.

I'm pretty much a reality TV junkie but have somehow managed to miss both seasons of this show. Now that I'm tight with one of the top contestants, I may just have to start watching.

Later, as I relaxed in my room, a fantastic fireworks display started up right outside my window. Not sure if this is a nightly occurrence on the harbor, but it was a nice surprise to me.

Re: the conference ... it was work related and so I won't bore you with a recap, except to point you to this very funny video one of the presenters showed, a spoof on FaceBook.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Grab Bag o' Kid Lit Stuff

I've had a busy few weeks (thus the dearth of posts), but my adventures have provided some good fodder for a post:

  • At the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic Chapter New Member Welcome event on April 26 (which I never miss, though it's been years since I was "new") we were treated to excellent presentations by Candlewick Editor Kate Fletcher and authors Gigi Amateau and Meg Medina. One comment that really hit home for me was Meg's answer to a question about how to handle an editor's request for major revisions to a novel. Meg said she finds you need to take some time to grieve the manuscript you thought you were writing, and when you are finished grieving, you can open your eyes to the amazing manuscript you have and its wonderful, unrealized potential.

    Kudos to the event organizers, who ... no lie ... baked hundreds of homemade cookies and brownies for us. Oh, yeah!

  • On May 2, Phillip Lerman, a former producer for FOX's "America's Most Wanted" and author of the very funny Dadditude, spoke at a Northern Virginia Writers event on what print writers can learn from TV folks.

    Lerman suggested a fun exercise to build our skills at creating voice. Pick people you know ... this can be family, friends, TV personalities ... and write in their voice. Imagine them saying the words. How would they sound? Lerman said he knows how John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" speaks better than John knows himself. We need to tune into our characters just as strongly.

    (BTW, be sure to check out Lerman's book as a potential Father's Day gift ... but only if dad can handle plenty of colorful language.)

  • A visit to my brother in North Carolina this past weekend gave me a chance to quiz my 8-year-old niece about her kid lit preferences. Her favorite characters? Amelia Bedelia, Junie B. Jones and Captain Underpants. Hah! Cool kid. Must take after her aunt.

  • Sunday's Washington Post Book World was devoted to children's books (woohoo!!). Most interesting to me was a piece by my favorite advice columnist, Carolyn Hax. Carolyn's regular column in The Post is smart, funny and brutally honest, so I was curious to see what she had to say about kid lit. Turns out, as a mother of three, she understands a thing or two about the genre. Her reviews are just as smart, funny and brutally honest as her advice column. Check it out.