Archive for May, 2014

Spotlight Week/Birthday Giveaway Winner

Last April 25th, I featured a joint Spotlight Week/Birthday Giveaway.

And now it’s time to announce the winners.

Congratulations, Ashfa!

You won a kindle copy of Lydia Kang’s CONTROL.

control lydia kang

And Congratulations, Kathryn Thornton!

You won an Autographed copy of The Last Airbender.

AVATAR promise part 2

I’ll be emailing you in a bit to tell about how to claim your very cool prize.

As for the rest of you wonderful people, I hope you have a happy and productive week!



1,598 total views, no views today

SCBWI-L.A. Writers’ Day 2014

SCBWI-L.A. hosted the annual Writers’ Days last March 22-23, 2014.

It’s been a whole month since then, but I thought I’d share my wonderful experience nonetheless.

The Writers’ Days faculty was composed of some amazing folks:

An Editor: 

 Heidi Fiedler

Editor Heidi Fiedler


2 Literary Agents,


 Danielle Smith Bio Pic

Literary Agent Danielle Smith of Reed Literary



Literary Agent Jennifer Rofe of Andrea Brown Literary


4 Amazing Novelists:




 Novelist and Flintridge Bookstore Proprietor Catherine Linka,


 GregPincusPhoto 14fibsCover

Novelist and Social Media Guru Greg Pincus,

Katherine Applegateoneandonlyivan

Newbery Medal winner Katherine Applegate,

 m. alderson mug shot plotwhisperer

And Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson


Saturday was all about amazing keynotes and useful writing exercises.  Here are some of the gems I picked up from each speaker:


Katherine Applegate: Frog and Toad at the Hunger Games: 10 Rules for Genre-Jumping and Career-Building from a Seasoned Hack

katherine applegate


Ignore all the rules.

Fall seven times and stand up eight.

Writing is a job like any job.

Know why you’re a writer.

Learn by doing.

Take risks.


Catherine Linka: What Every Writer Needs to Know About Retail Book Buying Today

catherine linka


Be polite, professional and personable.


Some of the questions book buyers ask before buying a book:

Do I know the writer and like his/her book?

Am I intrigued by the book cover on Edelweiss?

Does the story seem fresh and new?

Is there industry buzz?

Is the author local and would he/she do events?


Some of the things that may make booksellers reject a book:

The book is not right for their customer base.

They can’t figure out who the customer/audience is.

The book’s cover is awful, or the book’s premise is too complicated to hand-sell.




Heidi Fiedler: Book Mapping Like an Editor

heidi fiedler



When mapping out a book, consider: the Main Character, Primary Storyline, Secondary Storyline and Theme.

Create a mind map when brainstorming your book.

**Note: I  missed a big chunk of Heidi’s lecture as I was busy volunteering, so these notes don’t really do her justice.**


Danielle Smith: Crisscross Applesauce and why Your Story is Worth Telling: Defining Success From an Agent’s Point of View

danielle smith


Make every word count.

Verbosity is not your friend.

Work well with others. It’s unprofessional to talk about things publicly, especially on social media.

Everybody in the chain (authors, agents, editors) gets rejection.

Be true to yourself.

Like what you do.



Martha Alderson: Plot Session

martha alderson


To find your book’s thematic statement, have your critique partners/other readers read your book, then ask them what they think it’s really about.

Make sure to establish the protagonist’s flaw on page 1. Show what he/she is unable to do.

The true story doesn’t start until the end of the story’s Beginning.

In the exotic world of the middle, the protagonist is not in control. The antagonist, instead, is in control, setting the rules and defining what’st right and wrong.

The antagonist has his own plotline. He is trying to accomplish something and this gets him in the way of the protagonist.


Aside from the conference keynotes,there was also a First Pages Panel.

agents panel


Faculty members were given random first pages from the manuscript submissions and were given a couple of minutes to share their insights about the pieces. They shared what worked in the first page they read, and what aspects of the story still needed work.

Throughout the day, Greg Pincus gave 15 minute Social media consultations to some members while Martha Alderson handled 15 minute plot consultations.

At the end of the day, I was on hand once again to give out certificates to the winners of the Writer’s Day Contest.

giving certificates

Photo by Rita Crayon-Huang

After the conference ended, some faculty members did a bit of book signing:

book signing


Writer’s Day was a blast as usual. And although I wasn’t able to attend the Sunday Intensives, I hear it was jam-packed with helpful and inspiring sessions as well.



5,762 total views, 9 views today