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Posts Tagged ‘SCBWI’

What is the SCBWI?

SCBWI: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a nonprofit organization for writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and so on who are involved in children’s literature. This includes picture & board books, middle grade, young adult, new adult (older YA)

https://www.scbwi.org/

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SCBWI

April Louisville SCBWI Chit Chatters Social:

Anyone from Kentucky, Tennessee, and surrounding states is welcome.

Monday, April 3, 6 to 8 pm. No RSVP required.
The first hour will be for socializing, the second hour for optional critiques. Writers can read for three minutes. Illustrators are always welcome.

Barnes & Noble’s Café, 801 South Hurstbourne Parkway, one mile north of I-64, on the right. This is NOT the Paddock Shopping Center B&N.
You do not need to be an SCBWI member to attend. For more information, contact Charles Suddeth csuddeth@iglou.com  502-339-9349, c 502-649-9944.

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Obvious you say. I am a storyteller and write whatever genre or age is appropriate to my story, but I often write for children. I belong to SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators). The rule of thumb is that children like to read books whose main character is their age or slightly older. Recommended ages for readers & main characters vary from publisher to publisher, so these are general guidelines:

Picture Books: Ages 3 to 7, main character’s ages 5 to 9 (Board Books for younger readers & Easy Readers for slightly older readers extends range in both directions)

Middle Grade (Middle Reader’s): Ages 8 to 13, main character’s ages 10 to 14 (slightly younger readers may read Chapter Books—early middle reader’s books with a limited number of illustrations; slightly older readers may read Tween fiction involving dating)

Young Adult: Ages 14 to 18; high school readers. Main character’s ages high school freshmen to seniors. (New Adult, Young Adult fiction geared toward college-age readers, is becoming popular but controversial for its sometimes adult themes)

Here are the issues the main characters usually deal with for each category:

Picture Books: Searching for Security. Children this age, even while playing & having fun, need to know their parents are there for them with love, protection, and life’s necessities. The Llama Llama series of books by author/illustrator Anna Dewdney features a baby llama enduring various adventures & challenges, but above all, Mamma remains nearby.

Middle Grade: Searching for Identity. Children in this age are not certain who they are or what their abilities are. They often do things in groups to obtain peer approval, because they lack self-confidence and self-identity. J K Rowling’s early Harry Potter books are an example. Harry didn’t know he was a wizard with powers or that he would have a quest. And he didn’t know who his allies (his group) would be, but he gradually learned.

Young Adult: Searching for Independence. Teenagers are famous for their rebellion against parents, sometimes called “attitude.” Psychologists have described this as subconscious psychological efforts to separate themselves from their families, so they can become adults. Most people think of the Hunger Games as pure survival. Katniss lost her mother, but she is seeking independence from the oppressive, totalitarian society that replaced her parents.

New Adult is often described older teens &/or undergraduate college students exploring their new-found independence. My thriller, Experiment 38, is New Adult. The main character has just graduated from high school. She quickly learns that independence from parents has its dangers.

Adult or Children’s Book?

Your main character can be a child and can deal with mature (non-sexual) themes, so your manuscript would be adult. Another peculiarity of writing for children is that boys prefer to read books where the main character is a boy, but girls will read books where the main character is a boy or girl.

My favorite rule for writing is: Take your reader where they are not expecting to go. This also applies to children. Once you know your audience you can take them to destinations unknown and even undreamed of.

spearfinger-cover-test-draft

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SCBWI Reading List!

My YA thriller, Experiment 38, is on the SCBWI Winter 2016 Reading List:

https://www.scbwi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Mid-South_2016.pdf

YA thriller, publication TBA

YA thriller, publication TBA

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Revisions: My Love-Hate Relationship

My YA thriller, Experiment 38, was released 2015 by 4RV Publishing after years of revision. My first attempt at a thriller, I titled my first draft, Emily Always. After attending several writing workshops, I learned that I had written YA, because Emily, my main character, was eighteen.

I did my homework: YA was for teenagers, often involving an adolescent’s search for independence from their parents. Thrillers needed hooks at the end of each chapter and plot twists. And Emily Always was a dull thriller title. I rewrote it as YA, calling it Experiment 47.

Then I joined SCBWI and learned more: SHOWING was good and TELLING was bad. Avoid passives (was, etc.). And Experiment 47 was a bad title for a book about chromosomes, because 47 is the number of chromosomes for Down syndrome and many other chromosomal syndromes. I rewrote it, naming it Experiment 38. (38 is a specific number, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why)

An acquisition editor suggested that I rewrite the first five chapters. Over a six-week period I rewrote them several times. Then she gave me a contract! I was all set. So I thought. The working editor told me to eliminate backstory and start the novel where the story really begins. I cut the first five chapters that I had sweated over for so long and revised the remaining chapters as requested. I thought I was done. A second editor made minor but time consuming suggestions. Then a third editor made more suggestions taking more time. I was almost afraid to ask, but finally I finished.

Yes, I hated the revisions. No, I don’t regret them. I have a book that I love to send to reviewers and submit to contests.

Experiment 38: Eighteen-year-old Emily, small for her age, lives alone with her scientist-father and learns too late that he holds a terrible secret, one that might destroy her life.
As she and her boyfriend, Nate, try to unravel the mystery behind her father’s secret, they face danger and uncertainty.

Buy:

Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781940310022

4RV Publishing: http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/charles-suddeth.php

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/experiment-38-charles-suddeth/1121211605?ean=9781940310022

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Experiment-38-Charles-Suddeth/dp/1940310024/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424283309&sr=1-1&keywords=experiment+38

Books A Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Experiment/Charles-Suddeth/9781940310022?id=6239457417777

YA thriller, publication TBA

YA thriller, publication TBA

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May Louisville SCBWI Chit Chatters Social (Schmooze)

Anyone from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana is welcome.

Monday, May 2, 6 to 8 pm. No RSVP required.
The first hour will be for socializing, the second hour for optional critiques. Writers can read for three minutes. Illustrators are always welcome.

Barnes & Noble’s Café, 801 South Hurstbourne Parkway, one mile north of I-64, on the right. This is NOT the Summit Shopping Center B&N.
You do not need to be an SCBWI member to attend. For more information, contact Charles Suddeth csuddeth@iglou.com

B&N

 

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April Louisville SCBWI Chit Chatters Social (Schmooze)

Anyone from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana is welcome.

Monday, April 4, 6 to 8 pm. No RSVP required.
The first hour will be for socializing, the second hour for optional critiques. Writers can read for three minutes. Illustrators are always welcome.

Barnes & Noble’s Café, 801 South Hurstbourne Parkway, one mile north of I-64, on the right. This is NOT the Summit Shopping Center B&N.
You do not need to be an SCBWI member to attend. For more information, contact Charles Suddeth csuddeth@iglou.com 502-339-9349, c 502-649-9944.

B&N

 

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