Wednesday, January 19, 2011

your manuscript's musical score

(Does it mean I think highly of my novel if I want this soundtrack as its musical score?...or maybe it's just my crush on Johnny Depp)

Last night I was attempting revisions on my manuscript while listening to various Hans Zimmer scores on Pandora, and I got to thinking, if my book Trevelyn's Shimmer was ever made into a movie, what would be its musical score?

After listening to quite a few selections, I decided that The Pirates of the Caribbean might just do the trick. I liked The Last of the Mohicans, too, and the soundtrack for Inception - but both seemed a little too...intense...although, there are a few hairy scenes in my book where they'd probably work well.

(I haven't, sadly, even seen this movie yet. But I can get a real good sense of what happens by listening to the musical score - well, all those trailers on tv helped, too.)

Do you listen to music while writing? Ever day dreamed and thought about what would be your manuscript's musical score if it was made into a movie? Up? Far and Away? Lord of the Rings (that was a good one, too).

Try going to Pandora to test drive a few while writing. Close your eyes and imagine your characters in real life with the score of say, Gladiator playing in the background. You might find listening to music takes your writing to a different level and you might just be surprised by what you create.

(I mean, come on, the last scene in the movie when Maximus is drifting off to Heaven and the Celtic music is playing, it doesn't get better than that!)

Friday, January 14, 2011

today show pulls newbery & caldecott interviews for...snooki

Reality tv star Snooki

Wow. Okay, where to begin... I watch reality shows on occasion, I won't lie. I've never watched Jersey Shore....well, that's not true, I tried once, I turned the channel after one minute, that doesn't really mean anything, but it means a lot to a devout group of followers who don't turn the channel after one minute of Jersey Shore, the ones who don't think Snooki's 15 minutes of fame are over and never will be.

2011 Newbery award winner Moon Over Manifest

NBC's Today Show is pulling interviews with the 2011 Newbery and Caldecott award winners to interview reality star Snooki. I don't want to assume the reasoning for pulling the winners of the highest award a children's book writer and illustrator can receive (the Academy Awards, if you will) for a reality tv star, but if I had to assume, it would be because the executives over at the Today Show believe that Snooki will bring in better ratings. If you have children or you read or write children's books, then you know how much precedence is put on Newbery and Caldecott winning books. They are the best of the best, they are the books placed on their own special shelves at book stores. They are the books you purchase when you want a guaranteed good read.

Executive Director of the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Lin Oliver expressed her disappointment in a letter to the NY Times and LA Times. If you feel disappointed too, then send an email over to the Today Show letting them know how you feel:

Letter from Lin Oliver to NY Times/LA Times

Dear Editor:

As the Executive Director of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, a non-profit international organization of 24,000 professional children's book writers, illustrators, publishers, editors and agents, I have to express dismay at the decision this week of NBC's Today Show not to run the traditional interviews with the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals. The books that are granted these prestigious awards represent the best of what we have to offer children---great storytelling, strong values, a legacy of literature and hope and high-minded ideals. What they elected to run in that spot, an interview with reality star Snooki, represents the exact opposite.

In choosing not to run the interviews with Clare Vanderpool and Erin Stead, television has once again underestimated the intelligence of its audience. Parents are dying to get their hands on good books for their kids. Booksellers are eager to sell and promote good books for kids. It's good business, good broadcasting and good ethics to honor the best books for children.

Lin Oliver

Executive Director, SCBWI

Monday, January 3, 2011

naivete and art

If I could write music I would. I wish I hadn't quit piano in 8th grade - I wish I remembered a key, any key! I'm continuously fascinated by musicians and how it seems they so effortlessly piece together a new song. How they stack note after note on top of one other to create the perfect melody for their lyrics. I do love my rhymes. And there's really nothing more raw and sincere than poetry.

So in that roundabout way, I suppose, I wanted to share this sweet, little quote from musician Landon Pigg (coincidentally, Landon is the name of the boy in my book Trevelyn's Shimmer...but that's neither here nor there)... Also, this made me think about my own journey into writing children's books. Perhaps you'll find it sweet, too.

"Maybe there is a naivete in my approach. I never had a guitar lesson when I started out. I've always felt that when you don't learn all the rules, you're much more inclined to break them with a smile." - Landon Pigg

Sunday, January 2, 2011

nincompoop: a foolish or stupid person

As I begin the process again of looking for an agent or an editor to represent a manuscript I've recently finished, I'm taking lots of time to research agencies and write query letters where I don't come off sounding like a total nincompoop. It can be real easy - sounding like a nincompoop - when you're trying to impress someone...I like to try and avoid nincompoopesy if at all possible - ok, I'll stop using that word now. So when I read examples of query letters that are far worse than mine, something inside of me starts to feel better. Now I'm no query expert, and maybe it's just me, but one should probably avoid use of the word "hungry" in a query, unless it has to do with the synopsis of the book. Check out "One Way Not To Get Published" over on the Writer Beware's blog, here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

sometimes and always

Sometimes and Always ~

Sometimes clouds don’t part in the sky.

Sometimes water comes up chin high.

Sometimes snow doesn’t melt on your face.

Sometimes life seems no colder place.

But always you should know that the worst is almost over.

Always the storm passes and the wind blows over.

Always you will find that things fall exactly into place.

Always the sun will shine with a smile on your face.

So keep your chin up, your luck’s about to change.

Keep your chin up, my friend, a new beginning is in range.

happy new year!!!