Month: April 2015
Judy Blume Shows Support for the New York Public Library
You can show your support by signing this letter. Librarians are the protectors of intellectual freedom. They are the defenders of books and imagination and thought. They are on the …
President Obama to Announce New eBook and Library Initiatives
As part of the president’s ConnectED program, the White House has reached out to major book publishers to provide over $250 million in free eBooks to low-income students. In addition, …
Children's Book Week 2015 #storylines: Kate Milford
You’re in for a treat with this quote from Kate Milford’s middle-grade mystery Greenglass House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2014): See other quotes in the series, and …
North Shore Music Theatre & Friends of Dane Street Playground to Host ‘Smash the Guinness World Record’ Fundraiser Event
WHAT: On Sunday, May 17th, the North Shore Music Theatre will host a fundraiser to benefit the Friends of Dane Street Playground and to break a Guinness World Record: “Most parents reading to their children simultaneously.” …
Humble Bundle Supports Children's Book Week
Humble Bundle teams with the Children’s Book Council in launching kids comics bundle San Francisco, Calif. – April 29, 2015 – In celebration of Children’s Book Week this year, Humble …
Neurological Study Supports Reading Aloud to Young Children
After the children’s caregivers provided information on reading practices in the home, the subjects underwent fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans while listening to stories. The kids whose guardians read …
Children's Book Week 2015 #storylines: Grace Lin
Here’s a heartwarming proverb from Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette, 2009): See other quotes in the series, and share your favorites! …
Atheneum Books For Young Readers to Launch New Imprint: Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
New York, NY – Esteemed children’s book editor Caitlyn Dlouhy will launch an eponymous imprint, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing announced today. The newly formed imprint will reside within …
There's a Party in Your Head and Everyone's Invited
Contributed to CBC Diversity by Melissa Grey
There are seven narrators in The Girl at Midnight – a fact I wasn’t very open with during the querying process because I was worried the number might scare off potential agents. My thinking was that by the time someone read enough of the manuscript to discover just how bonkers I went with the number of point-of-view characters, they would either be invested enough in the story or they’d already soured on it. The gamble paid off.
Because there are so many narrators, I’m often asked how I approach writing a single story with so many PoV characters. I’m not always fastidious when it comes to writing methodology but these are a few points to keep in mind when writing different perspectives (especially when they’re different from you in terms of sex, gender, race, culture, etc.).
It is not a single story
You’re the star of your own life, right? Well, that’s how your characters feel about their lives, even if they’re not the book’s main character. Every character is the hero of their own story, even the villains. No one thinks of themselves as the side dish. So, even if a PoV character has only a single chapter in a book of sixty, they should still have their own perspective on the story. They need their own motivations, their own desires, their own outcomes. When I was plotting out The Girl at Midnight, I made a list of what each character wanted more than anything and what they actually got in the end (so often, the two are not the same). Each character thinks the story is theirs. It’s important to be mindful of that.
Research, research, research
Research is key. It’s always critical, no matter what you’re writing, but it’s absolutely essential when you’re writing an experience different from your own. I am not a gay man, but there is one in my book, so I did my homework. I’m dealing with mostly nonhuman characters in The Girl at Midnight trilogy but ideas of racism, bigotry, and prejudice are still a part of it, so I did that homework too; even though I have personal experience with prejudice (I’m a woman and not white), my experience is not universal. Reading fiction and nonfiction about and, more importantly, by people different from you is so, so, so important. It will inform how your characters approach the world of your book and the problems in it.
Write outside the box (or book)
One of the strategies that really helped me get inside the heads of so many characters was writing stuff that was never going to be in the book. I used to write fan fiction (ain’t no shame in it!) and one of the common types of fic is called Five Times Fic. It’s basically short stories like Five Times Harry and Draco Kissed and One Time They Didn’t. Each ‘time’ is usually short, maybe 100-200 words depending on the writer, so it’s all about those slice-of-life moments that show you the heart of a character. I wrote drabbles like that for several of the characters in The Girl at Midnight when they were proving elusive (Caius was a bit slippery sometimes) and it was such a fun way to get to know them. I didn’t have to worry about building a whole plot or impressing my writing partners or wowing an editor. Those little side stories were for my eyes only and they really, truly helped. I find they’re also a great way to combat writer’s block. And they’re just plain fun. Fun is so essential. Writing a book is hard, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!
Melissa Grey was born and raised in New York City. She wrote her first short story at the age of twelve and hasn’t stopped writing since. After earning a degree in fine arts at Yale University, she traveled the world, then returned to New York City where she currently works as a freelance journalist. To learn more about Melissa, visit melissa-grey.com and follow @meligrey on Twitter.
Jumpstart and Candlewick Press Partner to Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record®
BOSTON, MA (APRIL 28, 2015) — Jumpstart, a national early education non-profit organization, and Candlewick Press, an independent children’s publisher, have announced their partnership in honor of the 10th anniversary …
Children's Book Week 2015 #storylines: Roald Dahl
Here’s a morsel from Roald Dahl’s confectionary classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Puffin Books/Penguin Young Readers, 1964): See other quotes in the series, and share your favorites! Quote #1: …
Scholastic to Sell Educational Technology Business to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for $575 Million
New York, NY – Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Educational Technology and Services (“EdTech”) business to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company …
Nikki Garcia: How I Got into Publishing
Assistant Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
To tell you how I got into publishing, I could start by mentioning that my mother always had a book in her hand, and taught me to do the same—or that I spent most of my time lost in books like One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte.
These experiences definitely shaped me to be the kind of person who would find myself in the world of publishing but, honestly, the idea of a publishing career didn’t even pop into my mind until the day I watched Margaret Tate and Andrew Paxton (played by Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds) banter on the silver screen in The Proposal.
I remember that being a particularly difficult time for me. I’d just spent the last year working at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary while taking pre-med classes at night. Although I was proud of the idea of becoming a doctor, I wasn’t eager to go to work and class every day, but I didn’t like the idea of quitting either. Then one weekend, as I watched Margaret and Andrew throw humorous insults at each other, I noticed Margaret’s hardcopy manuscripts sprinkled across her desk. I was fascinated by the part where Andrew was trying to convince her to buy a manuscript that he loved. I remember thinking, Is this a thing? Does this career actually exist?! That night, I looked up the industry guides that my school had available, and ta da, there it was—an industry guide on publishing. Seriously…never doubt the power of media.
Of course, deciding to be an editor was much easier than actually convincing someone to let me be one. Once I was finished with my classes, I hit the pavement and had an informational interview with anyone who’d meet with me. My first informational interview was with Michael Pietsch, the then publisher of Little, Brown and Company. He was kind enough to put me in touch with another editor, and a direct contact in human resources. Even with those new contacts, I knew I was going to have to intern and get some experience, so luckily I found a unique internship at The New Press.
I spent a month in each department: editorial, publicity/marketing, production, and finance. The internship at the New Press made me perfectly qualified for an in-house floater position that opened up at Hachette Book Group at just about the time my internship was ending. Like my internship, I would be available to work on various projects within any department in the company.
While working as a floater, I was lucky enough to receive Alvina Ling as my mentor in the Hachette Mentor Program. I spent the next six months picking her brain about the life of an editor, reading submissions, and drafting jacket copy and declines. Often Alvina would ask me if I still wanted to work in editorial, and every time my answer was the same. Yes!
Once the six months were over, she agreed to keep meeting with me, and this continued for another six months as well, until an editorial assistant position opened up working under her and another editor. I interviewed for the position, and luckily I got the job.
Five years ago I hadn’t even known publishing existed. Now I work for one of the best companies in the industry. Since my start as a floater, I’ve acquired my first book, Lola Levine is Not Mean (November 2015), along with other books in the series, all featuring a spunky biracial and bicultural second grader.
I know what it’s like to feel lost in deciding what you want to do with your life, and I feel very lucky to have found my way to this cool place surrounded by other book lovers. What I’ve learned is that it’s important to keep your eyes open. You never know where you might find the answer, because it might just be in the form of two funny actors in a romantic comedy.
Hey, it could happen.
Nikki Garcia is an assistant editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she works on books for all ages. During her time at LBYR, she has had the honor of working with picture book authors such as Peter Brown and Frank Viva, as well as novelists such as Wendy Mass, Matthew Quick, and Holly Black. Born and raised right here in New York City, Nikki graduated from St. John’s University, and thankfully didn’t have to travel very far to make her dreams come true.
Children's Book Week #storylines: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Here’s a quote on the feel-good power of literature, from Holly Goldberg Sloan’s Counting by 7s (Dial Books/Penguin Young Readers Group, 2013): See other quotes in the series, and share …
The Harry Potter Alliance Begins Worldwide Book Drive
The Harry Potter Alliance, an international non-profit that uses the power of stories to fight real world injustice, has kicked off a campaign to donate 60,000 books to communities in …
Children's Book Week 2015 #storylines: Walter Dean Myers
Here’s a message of love and unity from Carmen, written by the late author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Walter Dean Myers (Egmont, 2011): See other quotes in …
Children's Book Week 2015 #storylines: Andrea Beaty
Find the courage to try again with this line from Andrea Beaty’s Rosie Revere, Engineer (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013): See other quotes in the series, and share your …
Children's Book Week 2015 #storylines: Shaun Tan
Seize the day with these words from Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing (Lothian/Hachette, 2002: See other quotes in the series, and share your favorites! Quote #1: Frances Hodgson Burnett, A …
Banned Books Week Celebrates Young Adult Books in 2015
New York, NY — Young Adult books will be the focus of Banned Books Week in 2015, the event’s national planning committee announced today. Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the …
Kids Can Earn 5 Bookopolis Points When They Vote in the Children's Choice Book Awards!
Launched in 2008 by Every Child a Reader and the Children’s Book Council, the Children’s Choice Book Awards (CCBA) is the only national book awards program where the winning titles …