Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tulips, Stories, and Hope

Last fall, I planted tulip bulbs. 100 of them. Purple, pink, and white, randomly along the borders of my front porch. And as the cold days of winter have moved across the calendar—slowly, like clouds in the wind, I’ve waited for spring.

And I’ve decided that planting the bulbs was an exercise in hope.

There is hope in planting tulip bulbs, just as there is hope in writing a story. You put in the effort knowing there will be no recompense for a long time.

The hope in a story is that someone will understand it, connect with it, embrace it. Maybe a soul will be enlightened by it, have an emotional response, an epiphany, or even just a few good laughs while reading it. The hope is that someone will admire it and find it beautiful—and share it with the world. The hope is that the hard work will eventually be rewarded.

But manuscripts must first survive a cold winter. A winter of silence, doubt, and discouragement. A period of rejection and waiting.

As long as the bulbs are in the ground, there is still hope.

And tulips are tough. They’ll push right up through the unexpected snowfall in early spring, with frost on their petals. They’ll burst right through the hard clay dirt. They are determined. They only must survive the winter. But winters are short for some, and nearly a lifetime for others. When will the tulips bloom? When will spring be here?

This morning there were one hundred green stem tips peeking out from the earth in my yard. I wonder what colors they will be when they bloom.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

So You Want to Get a Picture Book Manuscript Published?

What you’ll get if you sign up for my picture book class this June in Sandy, Utah:

1. A whole bunch of handouts with helpful writing and marketing information.

2. A list of more than 50 literary agents acquiring picture book manuscripts, and their contact information.

3. A cool souvenir binder to keep your materials together.

4. Hands-on analysis of picture books (I’ll provide them) – including the classics, best-sellers, books with gimmicks, etc., and why they work. (Or don’t.)

5. Critique sessions for your manuscripts, including a “critique sheet” filled out by class members, to help you find trends in the feedback.

6. The opportunity to analyze your manuscript from the perspective of an editor who must “pitch” your story in an acquisitions meeting.

7. A friendly classroom atmosphere in a beautiful setting with mountain views. Plus, a break from the routine of your life, and the opportunity to devote a solid week to your craft!

8. Breakout sessions with bestselling authors such as Ally Condie, author of Matched.

9. Direct exposure to New York editors and agents.

10. Writing exercises to get the creative juices flowing.

11. My continued contact well after the conference. I want to hear your ups and downs and be a friend as you go through this writing journey. I’ll spoil you rotten.

“But…I can’t afford it!” you say. Think of it as an investment in your future. I had the same misgivings when I first attended the conference ten years ago. If I knew then what I know now, there’d be no hesitation. If I had not gone, I’m honestly doubtful I’d be published today. Remember you’re paying for a week of intensive study, learning, networking, and connections. Trust me, it’s well worth the price.

Hope to hang out with you for a week!


Visit the conference website by clicking here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Serious Questions Kids Ask Kristyn Crow

That’s an excellent question. You see, Ace’s mama sews the necks of his shirts with ultra-stretch fabric around the collar. He refuses to wear button-up shirts because they’re so itchy. Picky kid, that Ace. But oh, what undiscovered talent!

They decided to go green. Three-wheeled cars use less energy than four-wheeled cars. What? Your family still drives a four -wheeled car?

Heavens, no. Hare has a mild stutter whenever he gets nervous. So the narrator is just imitating his speech patterns, for dramatic effect.

The monster was created using the DNA of a frog, an alligator, a t-rex, and a pinch of Barney the dinosaur. Somebody also threw in the DNA of a monkey, which enables him to scale trees.

How does he play them? Ultra smoothly with a cooooooool jazzy beat.

Stand up to a mirror and squish your nose against it. Look yourself in the eye while you’re doing it. That’s exactly how somebody who’s “a little snuffled” feels.

He already came out, when lightning struck his grave. It was a very stormy night, and something wicked and very spooky happened. The rest is history. Oh, you mean the book. It comes out just before Halloween in 2012.

The mom? What are you talking about? Mom’s aren’t scary! Whooops. I gotta run. My mom is calling.

Got a question for Kristyn? Enter it in a comment here.