Becoming an Artist

A touching video in which children’s book author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka talks about how he became an artist.

“He liked making this book” might be the best line in any author bio I’ve ever seen. I also love how he talks about the support he got from his grandparents and his teachers. Even though writing/illustrating requires a lot of work and you have to power through a lot of challenges, as Krosoczka details, but having a wonderful support system can make all the difference. And I love that Krosoczka set up a scholarship in his grandparents’ honor. What a beautiful way to keep the support going.

(via SCBWI: The Blog)

ALA Monday

In case you weren’t at ALA or didn’t catch the livestream today, here’s the ALA Youth Media Award list for 2013–aka, your list of books you already love or books that are immediately going on your to-read list.

I was especially excited to hear that that the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award went to Katherine Paterson and the Margaret A. Edwards Award went to Tamora Pierce. They’ve done so much for generations of young readers and totally deserve these major awards.

Books that are immediately going on my library loan request list: Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (I KNOW, I KNOW).

Share your post-ALAYMA thoughts in the comments.

Follow Your Characters

At writing group last weekend, my critique partners mentioned they liked my latest project but were wondering where it was going, exactly. “Me too!” I said (in more or less words). I know a lot of writers who like to outline everything and map out exactly where their characters are going, but that doesn’t really work for me. I’m more of a “write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kind of writer–I have a vague idea of where I’m going, but I don’t have a strict outline and write toward where the characters feel like they should be going. Which sometimes makes it difficult to create a real plot.

So of course I was psyched to see this hilarious comic from Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro about creating plot.

Make sure to click through for the rest. I especially like Yolen’s comment at the end: ““There are two kinds of writers—the ones who figure out a plot ahead of time before writing, and the ones who set their characters in motion and then run after them saying, “Hey. . .wait for me.”” The latter is definitely more like me. And it might take a little while to figure out exactly what’s going on and how it should all come together, but there’s something exciting about chasing after your characters and learning about what’s important to them.

Okay, in case you’re a pants-er like me and do want some plot guidance, here are some great suggestions for laying out a basic plot map.

(image: Mike Cavallaro and Jane Yolen, via Figment) (H/T Lauren M Barrett)

Links Galore

Lots of great links for today:

In the Artist’s Studio

As someone who writes YA, I’m fascinated by the picture book process. You’ve got barely a few hundred words to work with, and you need to have art that both connects to your narrative and takes the story to the next level. So I really dug this video by children’s book artist Oliver Jeffers about his process:

Oliver Jeffers Author Film 2013 from Oliver Jeffers on Vimeo.

I need to start hunting for my breakfast, too. Watch out, scones!

(via swissmiss)

Friday Fifteen

It’s the last Friday Fifteen of the year! At first I thought I’d round up some “best of” reviews, but I hate recycling content like that. Instead, today I’m reviewing a few books that I read in 2012 (that’s right, no flashbacks) and, for some reason, haven’t posted about yet. Onto the reviews!

97814231029911. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My favorite Green novel (so far). Still think about the scenes in Amsterdam.

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Didn’t quite have the momentum I wanted, but fun. Would have been obsessed at 14.

3. See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles
Knowles manages to balance a lot in this novel about family. So moving.

4. All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Coffee and chocolate are illegal = my own personal dystopia.

5. Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems
Great combination of illustration and photography, with Willems’s usual humor and sweetness.

Links Galore

A few links for today: