Final #KidlitSummerSchool Updates, Webinars, and THANK YOUS!

Hello, Summer Schoolers! Week 4 has sadly ended, but we still have a few treats left for you. Think of it as Afterschool for all of you overachievers.badge final 4x4-brighter heart

We want to bring your attention to what is to come in the week ahead, including TWO great Summer School webinars! Here we go!

#KidlitSummerSchool Afterschool Webinars:

This coming Thursday, August 11th, at 8pm EST we will be hosting our very special Author Roundtable webinar with Authors Crystal Allen (MG), Josh Funk (PB) and Jo Whittemore (MG) who will share their expertise on children’s books and their own personal writing journeys. Details on getting a link to watch this webinar and how to submit your questions for the panel were sent out yesterday. Please check your inbox and refer to that email for further information.

Questions for the Author Roundtable must be submitted by midnight EST on Tuesday, August 9!

And that’s not all! Stay tuned for a very special upcoming webinar with folks from the publishing world. We will announce when we have details to share!

Both webinars are going to be a clucking good time, filled with lots of Nerdy Chick knowledge. You will not want to miss out.

blue-star-thumbPerfect Attendance Award: Did you leave a comment on every author post within the first twenty four hours that it was posted? If you did, you are eligible for the perfect attendance award! If you qualify, just leave a comment right here on THIS blog post. Start your comment with the words “Perfect Attendance” (So we can easily pick you out from others commenting about Summer School.) One name will be drawn from all of the contenders to win the Perfect Attendance Prize.

What about the other prizes? The #30mdare prize? The individual post prizes? The pre-registration prize? The grand prizes? All of the other great stuff? We will have details about all of the other prizes and how they will be awarded in a separate post on the blog. That’s something to look forward to!

smiling-gold-star-thumbLastly, a sincere thank you to each of you for joining us these past four weeks. #KidLitSummerSchool is for YOU and we hope that you have enjoyed yourself, met a few friends, and learned a craft-tip or two. We’re proud of you! You get a gold star!
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Thanks also to our awesome faculty of bloggers and all of our webinar participants. It really was a fantastic summer, right?!
Now go forth, you heart and humor-filled geniuses.

The Kidlit Summer School Board of Education
@dawnmyoung @kamikinard @leezaworks @marciecolleen @sudiptabq

Tipping The Scales Between Heart And Humor by @leezaworks and GIVEAWAY

Recently, I saw Penn & Teller live. It was a riveting show filled with mystical “ooohs,” enlightened “aaaahs,” and of course, plenty of laughs. The magician-entertainers are dubbed as a comedy duo and they delivered right on point—tricks, tension, punch lines, you name it… all tied up into one gratifying package.

When I began tinkering with ideas for this blog post wondering what on earth I could possibly say that you might find helpful in writing/illustrating this year’s theme, I couldn’t help but think about the show. Or, rather, the relationship between Penn and Teller, their relationship with the audience—and their balance between heart and humor.

Penn—aka the tall, chatty one with glasses—took viewers on a journey, spinning tales of yesteryear. He harkened back to childhood, celebrated the pair’s relationship that has spanned four decades and walked us through old-school magic tricks such as the classic pull-a-rabbit-out-of-a-hat number and an impressive fire-eating act. He built up tension in between each illusion, and from start to finish, verbally narrated the evening that culminated with a satisfying ending.

He was the author. He told us a story full of heart.

Teller—aka the silent one—entertained us visually with magic acts. He expertly mimed with comical delight, using a wild array of facial expressions, props and body language (I’m still gaga over the turning-pennies-into-goldfish trick!). And he did it all without uttering a single word.

He was the illustrator. He painted the pictures and gave us the humor. (Not to mention being the epitome of “Show, don’t tell!’)

Hernandez_PennTeller

Setting Up

The warm-up act was a jazz musician who played piano for an hour during which, he invited the entire audience to inspect a large wooden barrel and box set up on stage. It was an unexpected surprise to me. I realized he had deliberately set the tone for what lay ahead in the show. Was that orchestrated by the magicians? Of course!

Clearly Penn and Teller’s success is rooted in the strength of their working relationship with one another and knowing how to composite great live entertainment. For me, the performance had just the right balance of heart and humor, interspersed with tension, drama, and unexpected twists.

This led me to thoughts of the working relationship between author and illustrator—and how we find just the right balance in our work between heart and humor. Maybe you can have a lot of one, but need a little of its counterpart to create harmony.

That doesn’t necessarily mean exactly equal parts. I doubt you would paint a room exactly half black and half white. But rather, when you work up a first draft, dummy or outline, you step back and see where to emphasize your main focus (heart or humor), pepper in a little of the other where it’s needed most and perhaps round out with some tension, drama or unexpected twists—with the idea of delivering one gratifying package to your viewer: the reader.

Invite your audience to inspect the wooden barrel and box

Front matter of a book—endpapers, title, copyright and dedication pages—offer valuable real estate that can help set the tone of what lies ahead (heart, humor, or both) before your story begins.

It’s easier, yes, if you are the illustrator or illustrator/author, but even if you are not an illustrator there’s nothing to stop you from making suggestions. Be sure to give whatever you’ve suggested a reason to exist, not just because it’s funny or sweet, but that it contributes to the storytelling. As well as thoughtful illustrations, cleverly-written dedications, disclaimers, or special notes to the reader can set up the tone of your book.

Know When To Lighten Things Up

When your story’s scale tips toward sweet or sad, offer up some subtle comic relief to give your characters and readers hope—plus a way to stay engaged. If you have kids, or recall your own childhood, think about an emotional time when you or another family member used humor to help them (or you) snap out of a mood? Or did someone discover you actually cared all along, but you wouldn’t admit it and immediately you made fart sounds with your armpit to create a diversion from … you know… your ‘feelings’?

Give Reason To Care Beyond the Jokes

When the manuscript’s scale tips to the funny or silly, make sure you pull on that heartstring once in a while to strengthen the bond between your character(s) and story. A book filled with a list of one-liners won’t give your readers any real reason to care—or desire to know how it all turns out—basically it’s just a joke book.

Add Surprises

Once you’ve established your basic structure, look at where you can then: add a dash of tension (even when a comically-clumsy magician thrusting swords into the box that currently contains the beautiful assistant can still cause a reader to catch his/her breath); sprinkle drama to create some anticipation to wild shenanigans (cue the page turn, or cliffhanger); or feature an unexpected twist that can cinch the deal to that satisfying ending.

Think Less is More

And, if you’re caught trying to shove the playing cards back up your sleeve in hopes that no-one notices, you might be trying too hard. Keep it simple. Take a break. Deconstruct your work then build it back up. That’s what revision is for, right?

With the Penn & Teller show, the comedy was expected. The tricks looked simple and effortless (although I am sure countless hours were spent perfecting every nuance of the performance). In the end, the heartfelt narration was a nice surprise that made me care about these two in a deeper way, far more than I did before walking into the theater.

So, whether illustrating or writing: Get all your props together, find that balance, hit the stage and deliver a gratifying and magical package to your favorite audience—your readers!

HernandezL_HeadshotLeeza Hernandez illustrates (and sometimes writes) picture books including Dog Gone! and Cat Napped! and Never Play Music Right Next To The Zoo written by John Lithgow—as well as The Eat Your Homework series by Ann McCallum. She’s currently on lockdown in her studio illustrating Amy Parker’s This Is Your Day (Scholastic, Fall 2017). No really, she’s been locked in and no-one will let her out until she meets her deadline! You can find Leeza on Instagram and Twitter @leezaworks or visit leezaworks.com

If you are registered for Kidlit Summer School, you can download a worksheet of Leeza’s research exercise at our Exercise Book. This is a password-protected area — only members allowed! Please check your email for the password.

GIVEAWAY! Leeza is giving away a magical goodie box filled with surprises (including a 20-minute chat coupon where she’s happy to answer any of your burning questions) and fun props that may make you laugh, cry or both, plus three runner-up note packs. If you are a registered Summer School student and would like a chance to win a prize, please leave a comment on this post to be entered into the drawing. Good luck!

Don’t miss your chance to get perfect attendance! Leave a comment on this post within the first 24 hours. Moderators have to approve first-time commenters, so your comment may not show up immediately.

#KidlitSummerSchool Week 2 Begins Tomorrow!

Yay for Kidlit Summer School 2016!

You did it! You made it though week one, and the fun isn’t over yet, not even close! Enjoy today relaxing and having fun in the sun (psst… it’s #nationalicecreamday today) and get ready for tomorrow because it’s … drum roll please … WEEK TWO!

As a friendly reminder, for the most successful school experience, try your best not to skip class! They’re offered Monday through Friday right here on the blog through our fabulous faculty guest bloggers. All you have to do is virtually show up here. If you subscribe to this blog, you can have the school come to you instead. And don’t forget if you’re not already subscribed, just head to the right sidebar and subscribe—it’s that easy!

Now, take a look at your class schedule for the week ahead. More great info, wisdom and learning heading your way!

As always, please help us share the love for #KidlitSummerSchool by posting about it on Twitter, FB (including in groups of writers), Pinterest, and all other forms of social media. Simply use the tag #KidlitSummerSchool wherever you post. If you want, you can copy the ready-made tweet below and paste it into your feed. Super-easy!

More HEART&HUMOR on the 2nd week of #KidlitSummerSchool with blog posts, webinars, exercises, and more! http://www.nerdychickswrite.com

If you still didn’t get to it yet, no worries, here’s our check list of ways to get the most out of Kidlit Summer School:

  • Make sure you are on the email list! Do this by registering this year. All passwords, webinar links, etc. will be sent out through email ONLY. If you are not getting emails, please click HERE to troubleshoot. Because there are so many of you, we ask that you read this carefully before contacting us about a problem. A regular weekly email will be sent out (usually on Sundays). Look for it to make sure you get it!
  • Join our Facebook Group! If you have registered for Kidlit Summer School 2016, follow this link to ask to be added if you haven’t already.  If you haven’t registered, please register HERE, even if you registered last year
  • Participate in our Twitter #30mdares: This year, Rebecca Petruck will post prompts on Twitter and Facebook twice a week so students have the freedom to arrange group dares that suit their schedules and time zones, or do them on their own. The only “rule” is to set a timer and go without stopping for 30 minutes. You can find her on Twitter at @RebeccaPetruck.   Prompts will be posted Tuesday at 9p ET and Saturday at 10a ET. To get prompts, check the Twitter hashtag #30mdare or visit the Facebook group.Publisher’s Weekly covered Rebecca’s first experience with the #30mdare. You can read about that HERE.
  • FAQ page: Check out the pages for FAQs in the navigation bar for more information on webinars, email, and #30mdares.
  • Cafe Press: Soon our 2016 design will be ready to order from our Cafe Press store. You can have your own Kidlit Summer School uniform. 😉
  • Webinars: Stay tuned — we’re still working on these.
  • New to School? If this is your first time attending Kidlit Summer School, check out our updated ABOUT page for a brief explanation of how things work!

GIVEAWAYS:

  • Perfect Attendance: Remember the blue-star-thumbperfect attendance award? You can get one for attending Kidlit Summer School! We’ll hold a drawing at the end of Summer School for people who commented on every post here on the blog within the first 24 hours of it going up. When Summer School is over, there will be a post explaining how to be entered for the drawing for the Perfect Attendance grand prize.
  • Author Giveaways: Some of our amazing authors will be sponsoring giveaways with their posts. You must comment on their post to qualify for these. Details will be at the end of each post.
  • #30mdare Giveaway: Students who complete at least five of the seven dares will be entered to win a 20-page critique and follow-up phone call from Rebecca. 

ALL PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED AT THE END OF KIDLIT SUMMER SCHOOL 2016!

We’re off to grab some ice cream, but looking forward to another great week … See you in class!

The Kidlit Summer School Board of Education.

Follow us on Twitter: @dawnmyoung @kamikinard @leezaworks @marciecolleen @sudiptabq

#KidlitSummerSchool Orientation 2016. Class Starts Tomorrow!

Welcome to Kidlit Summer School Orientation 2016!

Today we’re here to tell you what to expect so that you can feel comfortable and confident going forward. Looks like you’re sitting up straight and reading your assignment. Fantastic! You get a star!

smiling-gold-star-thumb

For the most successful school experience, make sure you don’t cut class! Classes are offered Monday through Friday right here on the blog through our fabulous faculty guest bloggers. All you have to do is virtually show up here! If you subscribe to this blog, you can have the school come to you instead. We recommend this, so head to the right sidebar and subscribe if you haven’t already! You want to learn how to add heart and humor like a pro, don’t you? We’ll be covering all manner of strategies for doing just that over the next few weeks.

Weekends are a time to sit back and process what you’ve learned. We’ll have that covered here on the blog too! Along with some pop quizzes. Don’t worry about those. We have confidence you’ll pass with flying colors!

Now, take a look at your class schedule for the week. You’re going to learn a lot!

summer school 16 week 1

Since tomorrow is THE FIRST DAY, we’d like to get #KidlitSummerSchool trending. Please help us share the word by posting about it on Twitter, FB (including in groups of writers), Pinterest, and all other forms of social media. Please use the tag #KidlitSummerSchool wherever you post. If you want, you can copy the ready-made tweet below and paste it into your feed. Super-easy!

Join us for HEART&HUMOR on the 1st day of #KidlitSummerSchool with blog posts, webinars, exercises, and more! http://www.nerdychickswrite.com

Here are some ways you can get the most out of Kidlit Summer School:

  • Make sure you are on the email list! Do this by registering this year. All passwords, webinar links, etc. will be sent out through email ONLY. If you are not getting emails, please click HERE to troubleshoot. Because there are so many of you, we ask that you read this carefully before contacting us about a problem. A regular weekly email will be sent out (usually on Sundays). Look for it to make sure you get it!
  • Join our Facebook Group! If you have registered for Kidlit Summer School 2016, follow this link to ask to be added if you haven’t already.  If you haven’t registered, please register HERE, even if you registered last year
  • Participate in our Twitter #30mdares: This year, Rebecca Petruck will post prompts on Twitter and Facebook twice a week so students have the freedom to arrange group dares that suit their schedules and time zones, or do them on their own. The only “rule” is to set a timer and go without stopping for 30 minutes. You can find her on Twitter at @RebeccaPetruck.   Prompts will be posted Tuesday at 9p ET and Saturday at 10a ET. To get prompts, check the Twitter hashtag #30mdare or visit the Facebook group.Publisher’s Weekly covered Rebecca’s first experience with the #30mdare. You can read about that HERE.
  • FAQ page: Check out the pages for FAQs in the navigation bar for more information on webinars, email, and #30mdares.
  • Cafe Press: Soon our 2016 design will be ready to order from our Cafe Press store. You can have your own Kidlit Summer School uniform. 😉
  • Webinars: Stay tuned — we’re still working on these.
  • New to School? If this is your first time attending Kidlit Summer School, check out our updated ABOUT page for a brief explanation of how things work!

GIVEAWAYS:

  • Perfect Attendance: Remember the blue-star-thumbperfect attendance award? You can get one for attending Kidlit Summer School! We’ll hold a drawing at the end of Summer School for people who commented on every post here on the blog within the first 24 hours of it going up. When Summer School is over, there will be a post explaining how to be entered for the drawing for the Perfect Attendance grand prize.
  • Author Giveaways: Some of our amazing authors will be sponsoring giveaways with their posts. You must comment on their post to qualify for these. Details will be at the end of each post.
  • #30mdare Giveaway: Students who complete at least five of the seven dares will be entered to win a 20-page critique and follow-up phone call from Rebecca. 

ALL PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED AT THE END OF KIDLIT SUMMER SCHOOL 2016!

 

We’re looking forward to a great few weeks! See you in class!

The Kidlit Summer School Board of Education.

Follow us on Twitter: @dawnmyoung @kamikinard @leezaworks @marciecolleen @sudiptabq

Final #KidlitSummerSchool Updates, Webinars, and THANK YOUS!

KLSS 2015 BadgeHello, Summer Schoolers! Week 4 has sadly ended, but we still have a few treats left for you.  Think of it as Afterschool for all of you overachievers.

We want to bring your attention to what is to come in the week ahead, including TWO great Summer School webinars! Here we go!

Pop Quiz: Don’t forget we will post a Pop Quiz on the blog at the end of the day. (Just for fun!)

#KidlitSummerSchool Afterschool Webinars:

This coming Tuesday, August 18th, at 8pm EST we will be hosting our very special Author Roundtable webinar with with Authors John Claude Bemis (MG), Lori Degman (PB) and Yvonne Ventresca (YA) who will share their expertise on children’s books and their own personal writing journeys. Keep an eye on your email for details on registering for this webinar and how to submit your questions for the panel.

And then on Thursday, August 20th, at 8pm EST join us for our Ask the Pros webinar with Scholastic Editor Orli Zuravicky and Art Director Patti Ann Harris. This webinar has a registration fee.

Both webinars are going to be a clucking good time, filled with lots of Nerdy Chick knowledge. You will not want to miss out.

Registration closes for the Author Roundtable at 11pm EST TONIGHT!

Registration for Ask the Pros closes on Wednesday, August 19th at 11pm EST. 

Check your inbox for registration information.

For more information about the Webinars, please refer to the FAQ page in the navigation bar above.

organic_nerdy_chicks_tshirtShop til You Drop – Nerdy Chick-style
The Nerdy Chicks Rule Café Press store is now open. Be a chic chick or one cool dude. Check out the awesome Nerdy Chicks gear here…

Nerdy Chicks Rule Cafe Press

Our Nerdy Chick Drawing Contest “Drawn” to a Close

Nerdy Chick

Art by Mike Ciccotello

Our Nerdy Chicks Drawing Contest has ended, yet stay tuned for a Gallery of all of your amazing creations soon on the website!

Thanks once more to Mike Ciccotello who drew a Nerdy Chick on a coffee cup and tweeted to Kami and Sudipta, for inspiring our contest. The winners will be picked by an industry professional and be added to our cafe press store! Also, they will receive a prize pack with their own design on it.

Thank you for all of your entries! You are certainly some amazingly talented Chicks!

Perfeblue-star-thumbct Attendance Award: Did you leave a comment on every author post within the first twenty four hours that it was posted? If you did, you are eligible for the perfect attendance award! If you qualify, just leave a comment right here on THIS blog post. Start your comment with the words “Perfect Attendance” (So we can easily pick you out from others commenting about Summer School.) One name will be drawn from all of the contenders to win the Perfect Attendance Prize. 

What about the other prizes? The #30mdare prize? The individual post prizes? The pre-registration prize? The grand prizes? All of the other great stuff? We will have details about all of the other prizes and how they will be awarded in a separate post on the blog this week. That’s something to look forward to! 

smiling-gold-star-thumbLastly, a sincere thank you to each of you for joining us these past four weeks.  #KidLitSummerSchool is for YOU and we hope that you have enjoyed yourself, met a few friends, and learned a craft-tip or two. We’re proud of you! You get a gold star!
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Thanks also to our awesome faculty of bloggers and all of our webinar participants.  It really was a fantastic summer, right?!
Now go forth, you plotting geniuses.
The Kidlit Summer School Board of Education

Week 4 #KidlitSummerSchool Schedule, Updates, Cool News and a GIVEAWAY

KLSS 2015 BadgeHello, Summer Schoolers! Week 3 has drawn to a close, and (can you believe it?!) we are about to embark upon Week 4 of Kidlit Summer School 2015. Hope you’re nearing plotting genius Nerdy Chicks!

Just like the first three weeks, we want to give you a preview of what is to come in the week ahead, and offer up reminders for our other great Summer School Events like out #30mdares and Webinars, etc. Here we go!

Pop Quiz: Don’t forget we will post a Pop Quiz on the blog at the end of the day. (Just for fun!)

 

Class Schedule for Week 4:

Great posts heading your way. Check out this awesome guest blogger line-up!

Webinars

This Thursday at 8pm ET we will be hosting a webinar with librarian/educators Matthew Winner and Betsy Bird who will share their expertise on children’s books from their side of the teacher’s desk. Keep an eye on your email for details on registering for this webinar and how to submit your questions for the panel.

Even though Summer School is almost “over,” we have a couple more great webinars lined up in the next few weeks. So keep looking for details on the blog and in your emails! For more information about the Webinars, please refer to the FAQ page in the navigation bar above.

EMAILS:

If you are having email issues, please visit the FAQ page before contacting us with a question. We have found that almost all glitches thus far are user or server error. If you have tried everything else and still cannot get your email to work, contact a member of the Kidlit Summer School Board. We are working hard on this and other aspects of Summer School, so please know that it may be up to five business days before you hear back from us. Look for your next email tonight or tomorrow morning.

The Facebook Group

A quick reminder if you are still trying to get into the Facebook group (and why wouldn’t you? We’re having so much fun there!). If you have registered for Kidlit Summer School, have asked to be added to the FB group, and did not get added within a day, it may be because your FB name did not match up with your registration name. If this is the case, one of us will have sent you a message via FB. Sometimes these messages end up in the OTHER folder. Please check this folder to see if you have heard from one of us and answer any messages there. This will help us sort things out.

organic_nerdy_chicks_tshirtCool News – cool stuff
The Nerdy Chicks Rule Café Press store is now open. Be a chic chick or one cool dude. Check out the awesome Nerdy Chicks gear here…

Nerdy Chicks Rule Cafe Press

Drawing Contest and GIVEAWAY!

Nerdy Chick

Art by Mike Ciccotello

There’s still time to doodle those Nerdy Chicks and send to us. The cotest runs until the end of Kidlit Summer School! Thanks once more to Mike Ciccotello who drew a Nerdy Chick on a coffee cup and tweeted to Kami and Sudipta, for inspiring our contest. The winners will be picked by an industry professional and be added to our cafe press store! Also, they will receive a prize pack with their own design on it. The rules:

1. Draw a Nerdy Chick.

2. Tweet the image to @leezaworks with the hashtag #NerdyChicksDraw AND/OR share on our Facebook Group page with the same hashtag.

3. Do this before the final day of Kidlit Summer School!

How easy is that? We look forward to seeing the chicks all over social media! (Psssst – Mike, you’re already one of the winners!)

crocheted chickGIVEAWAY
Juli Caveny  is giving away this darling crocheted nerdy chick. If you are a registered Summer School student and would like a chance to win this nerdy chick, please leave a comment on this post to be entered into the drawing. Good luck!

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for joining us for the third week of Summer School.  Thanks to our awesome bloggers, it was a fantastic week!
The Kidlit Summer School Board of Education

Week 3 #KidlitSummerSchool Schedule, Updates, Cool News and a GIVEAWAY

KLSS 2015 BadgeHello, Summer Schoolers! Week 2 has drawn to a close, and we are about to embark upon Week 3 of Kidlit Summer School 2015. Hope you are plotting away like mad, inspired Nerdy Chicks!

Just like the first two weeks, we want to give you a preview of what is to come in Week 3, and reminders for our other great Summer School Events like out #30mdares and upcoming Webinars, etc. Let’s get started!

Pop Quiz: Don’t forget we will post a Pop Quiz on the blog at the end of the day. (Just for fun!)

The Facebook Group

A quick reminder: some of you are still trying to get into the Facebook group (and why wouldn’t you? We’re having so much fun there!). If you have registered for Kidlit Summer School, have asked to be added to the FB group, and did not get added within a day, it may be because your FB name did not match up with your registration name. If this is the case, one of us will have sent you a message via FB. Sometimes these messages end up in the OTHER folder. Please check this folder to see if you have heard from one of us and answer any messages there. This will help us sort things out.

Class Schedule for Week 3:

Great posts heading your way. Check out this awesome guest blogger line-up!SS15week3

Webinars

We have a couple more great webinars lined up, so look for details on the blog and in your emails! For more information about the Webinars, please refer to the FAQ page in the navigation bar above.

EMAILS:

If you are having email issues, please visit the FAQ page before contacting us with a question. We have found that almost all glitches thus far are user or server error. If you have tried everything else and still cannot get your email to work, contact a member of the Kidlit Summer School Board. We are working hard on this and other aspects of Summer School, so please know that it may be up to five business days before you hear back from us. Look for your next email tonight or tomorrow morning.

organic_nerdy_chicks_tshirtCool News – cool stuff
The Nerdy Chicks Rule Café Press store is now open. Be a chic chick or one cool dude. Check out the awesome Nerdy Chicks gear here…

Nerdy Chicks Rule Cafe Press

Drawing Contest and GIVEAWAY!

Nerdy Chick

Art by Mike Ciccotello

The darling Nerdy Chicks are pouring in. Thanks to those who posted so far. Reminder to keep those NerdyChickDraws doodles coming right up until the end of Kidlit Summer School! Thanks again to Mike Ciccotello who drew a Nerdy Chick on a coffee cup and tweeted to Kami and Sudipta, for inspiring our contest. The winners will be picked by an industry professional and be added to our cafe press store! Also, they will receive a prize pack with their own design on it. The rules:

1. Draw a Nerdy Chick.

2. Tweet the image to @leezaworks with the hashtag #NerdyChicksDraw AND/OR share on our Facebook Group page with the same hashtag.

3. Do this before the final day of Kidlit Summer School!

How easy is that? We look forward to seeing the chicks all over social media! (Psssst – Mike, you’re already one of the winners!)

crocheted chickGIVEAWAY
Juli Caveny  is giving away this darling crocheted nerdy chick. If you are a registered Summer School student and would like a chance to win this nerdy chick, please leave a comment on this post to be entered into the drawing. Good luck!

 

 

Late Registration closes at the end of the day today, Sunday August 2nd – Tell your friends that there’s still time before the final bell rings!

Even though pre-registration and regular registration have both closed, you can still take part in Kidlit Summer School. Late registration is still open, so you can still sign up and get access to our password-protected writing exercises, to our Summer School webinars and recordings, and to the Facebook group, and you are still eligible to win any of the comment-related book giveaways on the daily blog posts. So you can still fully participate! You will not be eligible for prizes specified for Pre-Registration and Regular Registration.If you still need to register, please click HERE. Late Registration ends on Sunday, August 2. *Note that you passwords are sent out periodically, not the moment of registration, so you may need to wait until the next bulk email to receive one. Don’t worry, the exercises and all will still be there. 🙂

#30mdare – 

There is great information about the #30mdare writing challenge on our FAQ page.  Please click HERE to find out more about them… and join us.
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Thank you for joining us for the second week of Summer School.  Thanks to our awesome bloggers, it was a fantastic week!
The Kidlit Summer School Board of Education

Leeza Hernandez: Plotting With Spidergrams and GIVEAWAY

Keep your plotting on track from picture books to chapter books using at-a-glance diagrams.

Having settled into a groove with my picture book process I found myself venturing into unchartered territory with a chapter book project. The idea had been noodling around (with countless embarrassing ‘first’ drafts) for a few years but it’s always ended up back in the drawer with the book going nowhere and me feeling utterly out of my depth.

I’m used to working with less than a 500-word count and had no idea how to handle THOUSANDS of words—let alone think about plots, sub plots, chapters, multiple characters, cliff hangers and such. I needed to figure out how to break this project down so I didn’t feel like I was drowning.

“The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on that first one.”
—Mark Twain.”

That’s when I stumbled upon the spidergram—a diagram using a central circle with extenders connecting to an outer ring of circles that you fill out with goals and actionable tasks.BlankSpidergram_LH_use
My first spidergrams were for a different topic to writing, but they worked so well in helping me see what needed to be done and the actions I needed to take to get to my goals, I thought that spidergrams might be a good way to help conquer the challenges of planning my chapter book, too, including a general ‘book overview’ to-do list.

to-doList_spidergram

As a result, not only do I have a better handle on a book consisting of multiple chapters with various moving parts without feeling overwhelmed, but I’ve also developed additional spidergrams to help with character development. They’ve even worked their way into my picture-book planning process.

PBSpidergram_LH

WORKING BACKWARDS

For picture books, planning is simple. I work with a 32-page storyboard first and list keywords to map out where certain plot points need to happen. (Pssst … if you’ve taken classes with Sudipta before, you’ll be familiar with this method of breaking down your picture book!)

32_page_grid_LH.indd

The storyboard gives me a rough page count for each section of the story—from opening to middle to ending. (Tip: the first few pages called front matter are allocated to title, copyright and dedication, leaving the story to start on pages 4-5.) The plan also includes:

  • Establishing the main character, setting and conflict/goal
  • Charting attempts/fails to solve/achieve the MC’s conflict/goal
  • Building tension to the story climax/turning point
  • Concluding with: an expected-unexpected ending; bringing the story full circle; adding a twist; or keeping an open ending for a sequel

With this grid, I can check for balance, flaws or other areas that need addressing—too much set up at the beginning, not enough pages to wrap it all up, and so forth. After I’ve got a handle on the structure, I develop a spidergram—working outwards from the center and clockwise from the top (front matter).

  • Central circle = Overview of Project [book title & number of pages]
  • First set of extended circles = pages/section [can be changed as story develops]
  • Second set of extenders = keywords relating to major plot points in story line
  • Additional extenders = notes/ideas/afterthoughts/alternative story directions

catnapped_spidergram_LH

CatNapped_book_cover
The spidergram shown above was for Cat Napped! A 32-page picture book for pre-K to Kindergartners told in less than 80 words. A large component of the story was told visually, but I still had to figure out how the story would unfold before getting into sketches. Planning in this way was crucial for me to stay on track with the plot.

BRANCHING OUT

For chapter books, the process is similar, but instead of using the 32-page grid for an overview of charting major plot points use a spidergram.

chpbook_spidergram_LH

In the example above, see how the first ring of circles extending from the center refer to chapter numbers instead of page counts, sections or spreads. When all the basic keywords/notes are in place continue the breakdown in more detail using a separate spidergram for each chapter.

Seeing as there’s far more detail required in chapter books to picture books, opt to work on larger sheets of paper, or use a dry-erase board. Different colored highlighters can help cross-connect relationships, sub plots etc., or cut out circles and add to a push-pin board connecting with string. Be as creative as you like, go wild and have fun!

Using a spidergram as a visual breakdown and guide for your plotline can help you see where you’re going as you write … One. Step. At. A. Time.

leeza 2015Leeza Hernandez is a picture book illustrator-author who spends her creative time noodling around with story ideas and printmaking in her studio. She is Regional Advisor for New Jersey SCBWI and her latest illustrated book and third in the Homework series Eat Your U.S. History Homework (Charlesbridge) releases in October. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @leezaworks or visit her on the web at leezaworks.com

Leeza is giving away a signed copy of Cat Napped! with cat doodle, plus a DIY spidergram starter kit. Five runners up will each receive a mini spidergram starter kit too! If you are a registered Summer School student and would like a chance to win, please leave a comment on this post to be entered into the drawing. Good luck!

If you are registered for Kidlit Summer School, you can download a worksheet of Leeza’s writing exercise at our Exercise Book. This is a password-protected area — only members allowed! Please check your email for the password.

If you haven’t registered for #KidlitSummerSchool yet click HERE.

Week 2 #KidlitSummerSchool Schedule, Updates, and Things You Need to Know

KLSS 2015 BadgeHello, Summer Schoolers! Week 1 has drawn to a close, and we are about to embark upon Week 2 of Kidlit Summer School 2015. Are you excited? Are you  inspired? We certainly hope so.

Just like last week, we want to start you off on good footing and give you a preview of what is to come, not just in terms of guest bloggers, but other great Summer School Events like out #30mdares and upcoming Webinars. Let’s get started!

Pop Quiz: Look for a Pop Quiz on the blog at the end of the day. (We know pop quizzes aren’t supposed to be announced… we’re just trying to be extra nice.)

The Facebook Group

A quick reminder: some of you are still trying to get into the Facebook group (and why wouldn’t you? We’re having so much fun there!). If you have registered for Kidlit Summer School, have asked to be added to the FB group, and did not get added within a day, it may be because your FB name did not match up with your registration name. If this is the case, one of us will have sent you a message via FB. Sometimes these messages end up in the OTHER folder. Please check this folder to see if you have heard from one of us and answer any messages there. This will help us sort things out.

Class Schedule for Week 2:

Great posts heading your way. Check out this awesome author line-up!Presentation2

Webinars

Our next Webinar  will be on July 27 at 8pm EST. Registration for this event closed at 6am this morning. If you registered for this webinar with agents Sean MccCarthy and Marie Lamba and cannot attend it live, there will be a recording made available to you. We have several more great webinars lined up, so look for details on the blog and in your emails! For more information about the Webinars, please refer to the FAQ page in the navigation bar above.

EMAILS:

If you are having email issues, please visit the FAQ page before contacting us with a question. We have found that almost all glitches thus far are user or server error. If you have tried everything else and still cannot get your email to work, contact a member of the Kidlit Summer School Board. We are working hard on this and other aspects of Summer School, so please know that it may be up to five business days before you hear back from us. Look for your next email tonight or tomorrow morning.

Drawing Contest!

Nerdy Chick

Art by Mike Ciccotello

Inspired by this nerdy chick that artist Mike Ciccotello drew on a coffee cup and tweeted to Kami and Sudipta, we’ve decided to run an art contest this year as part of Kidlit Summer School! The winners will be picked by an industry professional and be added to our cafe press store! Also, they will receive a prize pack with their own design on it. The rules:

1. Draw a Nerdy Chick.

2. Tweet the image to @leezaworks with the hashtag #NerdyChicksDraw AND/OR share on our Facebook Group page with the same hashtag.

3. Do this before the final day of Kidlit Summer School!

How easy is that? We look forward to seeing the chicks all over social media! (Psssst – Mike, you’re already one of the winners!)

 

Late Registration is Now Open

Even though pre-registration and regular registration have both closed, you can still take part in Kidlit Summer School. Late registration is now open, so you can still sign up and get access to our password-protected writing exercises, to our Summer School webinars and recordings, and to the Facebook group, and you are still eligible to win any of the comment-related book giveaways on the daily blog posts. So you can still fully participate! You will not be eligible for prizes specified for Pre-Registration and Regular Registration.If you still need to register, please click HERE. Late Registration ends a week from today on Sunday, August 2. *Note that you passwords are sent out periodically, not the moment of registration, so you may need to wait until the next bulk email to receive one. Don’t worry, the exercises and all will still be there. 🙂

#30mdare –

There is great information about the #30mdare writing challenge on our FAQ page.  Please click HERE to find out more about them… and join us.
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Thank you for joining us for the first week of Summer School.  Thanks to our awesome bloggers, it was a fantastic week!
The Kidlit Summer School Board of Education

 

#KidlitSummerSchool Orientation. Class Starts Tomorrow!

Welcome to Kidlit Summer School Orientation!

Today we’re here to tell you what to expect so that you can feel comfortable and confident going forward. Looks like you’re sitting up straight and reading your assignment. Fantastic! You get a star!

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For the most successful school experience, make sure you don’t cut class! Classes are offered Monday through Saturday right here on the blog through our fabulous faculty guest bloggers. All you have to do is virtually show up here! If you subscribe to this blog, you can have the school come to you instead. We recommend this, so head to the right sidebar and subscribe if you haven’t already! You want to learn how to craft a riveting plot, don’t you? We’ll be covering all manner of strategies for crafting great plots over the next few weeks.

Sundays are a time to sit back and process what you’ve learned. We’ll have that covered here on the blog too! Along with some pop quizzes. Don’t worry about those. We have confidence you’ll pass with flying colors!

Now, take a look at your class schedule for the week. You’re going to learn a lot!

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Since tomorrow is THE FIRST DAY, we’d like to get #KidlitSummerSchool trending. Please help us share the word by posting about it on Twitter, FB (including in groups of writers), Pinterest, and all other forms of social media. Please use the tag #KidlitSummerSchool wherever you post. If you want, you can copy the ready-made tweet below and paste it into your feed. Super-easy!

Join us for the 1st day of ! THE PLOT THICKENS with blog posts, webinars, exercises, and more!

Here are some ways you can get the most out of Kidlit Summer School:

  • Make sure you are on the email list! Do this by registering this year. If you are not getting emails, please click HERE to troubleshoot. Because there are so many of you, we ask that you read this carefully before contacting us about a problem. A regular weekly email will be sent out tonight or tomorrow morning. Look for it to make sure you get it!
  • Join our Facebook Group! If you have registered for Kidlit Summer School 2015, follow this link to ask to be added if you haven’t already. https://www.facebook.com/groups/264884010371441/  If you haven’t registered, please register HERE, even if you registered last year
  • Attend the Webinars. Times and login information will be emailed to registered participants. You must register for the webinars you want to attend or watch. The next webinar, with the Kidlit Summer School Board of Education is this Wednesday, July 22 at 8:00 pm. You can also mark your calendars for 8 pm July 27. Our webinar that night will feature agents Sean McCarthy and Marie Lamda! Details about both events will be delivered by email. Find out what Sean and Marie are interested in acquiring, and more about our Board of Education by consulting the FACULTY page. You can find out more about webinars in the under FAQs above.
  • Participate in our Twitter #30mdares: This year, Rebecca Petruck will post prompts on Twitter and Facebook twice a week so students have the freedom to arrange group dares that suit their schedules and time zones, or do them on their own. The only “rule” is to set a timer and go without stopping for 30 minutes. You can find her on Twitter at @RebeccaPetruck.   Prompts will be posted Tuesday at 9p ET and Saturday at 10a ET. To get prompts, check the Twitter hashtag #30mdare or visit the Facebook group.Publisher’s Weekly covered Rebecca’s first experience with the #30mdare. You can read about that HERE.
  • Fill out your orientation form: Now, what’s orientation without filling out a few forms? Your task is to fill out this form before school starts! Click on the link to get your form: Orientation Form 2015  Luckily, you don’t have to worry about immunizations to attend this school. Like all #KidlitSummerSchool activities, filling out the form is voluntary! It’s just to get you thinking about the road ahead.
  • FAQ page: Check out the pages for FAQs in the navigation bar for more information on webinars, email, and #30mdares.
  • Cafe Press: We are setting up a Cafe Press store. Soon you can have your own Kidlit Summer School uniform. 😉

GIVEAWAYS:

  • Perfect Attendance: Remember the blue-star-thumbperfect attendance award? You can get one for attending Kidlit Summer School! We’ll hold a drawing at the end of Summer School for people who commented on every post here on the blog within the first 24 hours of it going up. When Summer School is over, there will be a post explaining how to be entered for the drawing for the Perfect Attendance grand prize.
  • Author Giveaways: Some of our amazing authors will be sponsoring giveaways with their posts. You must comment on their post to qualify for these. Details will be at the end of each post.
  • #30mdare Giveaway: Students who complete at least five of the seven dares will be entered to win a 20-page critique and follow-up phone call from Rebecca. 
  • Regular Registration Giveaways: We are giving away the following prizes to Summer Schoolers who register by July 26, when regular registration ends. Names will be drawn from registrants.
  • Brainstorming Session with Kami and Sudipta: a 30 minute BRAINSTORMING session with Sudipta and Kami together. In this session, the Nerdy Chicks will talk you through your idea — at whatever level of finished it is — and help you push it to the next level.
  • KLSS 2015 BadgeBling Pack: Our adorable Kidlit Summer School Sleuth designed by Joyce Wan on a notebook, totebag, and t-shirt from Cafe Press. 

ALL PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED AT THE END OF KIDLIT SUMMER SCHOOL 2015!

We’re looking forward to a great few weeks! See you in class!

The Kidlit Summer School Board of Education.

Follow us on Twitter: @dawnmyoung @kamikinard @leezaworks @marciecolleen @sudiptabq