Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thoughts and Whims and Acronyms

Today was an exhausting but satisfying day, highlighted by two marathon in-person discussions with a translator and an illustrator, respectively. I sent my line-edit of the translation to said translator just before I went to England; he returned it to me on Monday with his comments; and we spent two and a half hours today happily hashing out our remaining points of disagreement, from word choices ("rashness" vs. "stupidity") to sentence structures to whether we really needed that detail about the house. The illustrator is writing her first picture book; every draft gets closer and tighter, but it isn't quite there yet, so we sat down to figure out the problems and brainstorm solutions. We test-drove a few of the TRUCKs (Techniques of Revision Used by Cheryl Klein*) I'm going to discuss this weekend, and I was pleased that they seemed to help . . . fingers crossed the Michigan audience finds them useful as well!

  • I figured out today that SQUID could be an acronym too: Submissions, Queries, and Useful (or Unsolicited :-) ) Interesting Documents. Hee! (I originally intended to change the code word every four months or so, just for the hell of it, but SQUID has proven too likeable and durable to let go -- I check my mailbox and think "Oh, four SQUIDs.")
  • I just accepted an invitation to speak at the Los Angeles SCBWI Spring Speakers Day on April 14, 2007. I'll also appear at the Pennsylvania SCBWI Meet-the-Editors Program on June 5, 2007.
  • The PSUMC Children's Books and Religion group will meet again on Sunday, October 29, at 3 p.m. to discuss Skellig by David Almond. All are welcome to attend.
  • The lovely Monica Edinger (teacher, author, and children's books maven) has a blog at last: Educating Alice.
  • An interesting article by Anita Silvey in SLJ about YA fiction and trends.
  • If you haven't seen the Fuse #8 discussion of SCBWI, it's been fascinating. I haven't joined in because I would mostly just say what Alvina said (though I have signed up two manuscripts I found at conferences), but all you writer-members may want to check it out.
  • My friend and former Carleton Quiz Bowl teammate Steve Jenkins will be on Jeopardy! next Wednesday, October 11.
  • I finally finished Lonesome Dove: loved it -- the first book that's actually made me cry in years -- but what a depressing ending! Now reading Brainiac; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which is marvelous, all show and no tell); and The Silver Chair, which I'm liking possibly the best of all the Narnia I've read thus far.
  • I switched over to Blogger beta last night, so now I get to tag things! Hurrah!
  • Pride and Prejudice: the Rap (gacked from AustenBlog)
All right, back to editing my talk!
* Note not "originated by Cheryl Klein"; I am using other people's wisdom right and left. I also contemplated TRACKED (Techniques of Revision and Analysis Cheryl Klein Employs Daily), TUCKER (Techniques Used by Cheryl Klein for Editorial Revision), and MUCKER (Methods . . . -- the acronym my authors probably find most appropriate).


  1. Cheryl! Please post your notes on "Skellig". I read it last month thought it was interesting, creepy and cryptic. I'd love to hear what your group comes up with. I was reading it with foremost thoughts of how an upper grade reader might decipher it but I'm very curious to see how grownups might break down in terms of religious metaphor.

    I have to say I agree with you on "Silver Chair" though “Dawn Treader” comes in second. The kids behave closer to real children as any in Lewis' writings, and who doesn't like Puddleglum?

    Read on!


  2. Hey! I'm going to be speaking at the SCBWI Los Angeles event on the 14th, too. Oh wait. Rats. Now I can't make up silly stories about you since you'll be there, too.

  3. Thanks for the link to the article on YA trends. This is what I've been seeing for some time, and it's nice to see people above the scene finally recognize this.

  4. And hey--I'm doing the "Meet-the-Editors" panel on June 5, too. So, if we don't meet before then, we'll meet...uh, then.

  5. I've always been curious about how the editing process works for foreign language titles, so your comments on this are intriguing. How heavily do you edit the translation? Do you have any contact with the author? And how does that work if you don't have a language in common? Are there ever significant content changes between the original and a foreign language edition? I read a German midgrade recently (in English)and the text seemed stilted and draggy. German children's books do have different prose conventions than American books, true. How much of this (if any) changes in translation? Do you ever have to ask the author to write in extra clarification because cultural aspects/motivations caused by culture are not clear to foreign readers? I'd love to hear more about this process.

  6. Hey, I just sent you a Squid. (Drew a little doodly squid too.) Glad you didn't change the code!