Saturday, February 24, 2007

Q. What does a frustrated writing chicken say? A. "Block Block Block!"

My friends Melissa and Meg came over this morning for my fabulous pancakes (not boasting; simply a fact) and a writing day. They were working on creative projects; I was working on my talk for LA SCBWI in April. But while I could write down all the facts I want to put forward in my talk, I feel unsure about my metaphor tying them together; and so many of the facts seem to be taken from or inspired by Uri Shulevitz's excellent Writing with Pictures that (at the moment) it seems like the talk should really consist of my waving his book in the air and saying "Buy this! Buy this now!"

So instead I wrote a letter to an author about a picture book, because it's much easier for me to write about concrete things that already exist than theory I have to create. (Which is why I am an editor and all of you are writers.) I will go back to the talk tonight or tomorrow, get off the laptop and back on paper (which was probably half the problem anyway -- so hard to draw connections between things when you can't actually draw arrows), write write write till the deep structure of the thing clicks into place and the story I have to tell about words and pictures and how they work together emerges. (It's a romance! Hey, that's an interesting metaphor . . . )

Until then, I guess the ideas just have to percolate a little more. And I'm going to have dinner.

9 comments:

  1. Your pancakes--the secret to their deliciousness must be the sugar? I'll have to try them.

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  2. Marcia startingtoread.netFebruary 25, 2007 1:21 PM

    Thanks for suggesting Writing With Colors. I'm always looking for books on writing. Do you have any other favorites?

    Marcia

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  3. I wrote the wrong title on the previous post. I meant Writing with Pictures. Sorry.

    Marcia

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  4. Hi Marcia,

    Check out the page on my website here: http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeqjo1w/id11.html

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  5. Thanks!
    I spent yesterday at a writer's retreat (Whispering Pines in Rhode Island) and realized it's time to read some different books on writing. Your list is exactly what I need. Thank you.

    Marcia

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  6. Waving a copy of "Writing With Pictures" like a sign jiggler wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. (Does NY have those poor people that stand on street corners all day and flip arrow signs?)

    So, is a really stellar picture book more like a romance with lots of pitching woo and courting the reader, or is it like a cake made from scratch, just measure all the right ingredients and voila, dessert?

    Yesterday, at the very fine and friendly OC SCBWI Illustrator's group, I lead a little exercise were we folded a piece of plain paper to make a little eight page booklet. Everyone then had ten minutes to sketch a really quick story. The goal was to get past the block wall of creating the perfect drawing, and put just enough the lines on paper to create a starting point. The only rule was that it had to show a sequence of events. It was really neat to see what people came up with.

    I’m hoping to take the components of your talk and turn them into little training exercises for our group. We are a hard working bunch of artists intent on honing our craft, so bring on the information!

    I'm starting to get really excited about your talk! Much needed! I’m completely stoked!

    Best thoughts,

    Marilyn.

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  7. How do you get a picture book to be more that the sum of its parts?

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  8. I meant "more Than the sum of its parts"

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  9. Have something emotionally meaningful to say, and say it not just through the words but also the pictures. Or not just through the pictures but also the words.

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