This is my journey in creating concepts, writing, illustrating, finding a literary agent, and becoming a published children's book author and illustrator for the picture book genre.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A contest to write or be written from writing?

The idea of contests does trigger a memory that I would like to share. One in particular that stands out in my mind is of a poetry contest that I entered in second grade. It was  a poem writing contest that took place at my elementary school. I wrote a poem about Polar bears. We went to the zoo on a field trip and I fell in love with these furry, white Artic bears. I remember working on this poem for several days. I submitted my poem into the contest by handing it to my teacher at the elementary school I attended. I had high hopes of winning. Well, I knew I was a shoe in. I was the only second grader to submit a poem. It was still a contest and I had a poem I was proud of.
At the school wide assembly, the winners were called by class and whether they won first place or honorable mention. When they announced the second grade winner, my name was called. I walked up to that stage as proud as I could be. I won. My poem was a first place winning poem. I was the only entry, but it was a first place winning entry. I was handed the award and remember lovingly embracing that first place certificate. The principle handed it to me. I held my tangible papered pride in my hands with the decorative side facing the audience. I stood tall and proud with the winners from other grades. 
My first writing award was for this poem about the polar bears.  The content wasn't complex. It was simple and sweet.  It rhymed where it needed to rhyme. It was cleanly written and submitted on time. I gleefully examined this award. It was printed on light blue paper with squiggles and circles in its bordering design. It had my school name clearly printed at the top.  "First Place Award" was in bold print under my school name. Then after that came my name. It was printed in handwritten text. "This award goes to Casandra Garcia" ...My name was spelled wrong, very wrong. Yes. Not just the first name.  My last name bore the same error. I didn't really care. It was my award. I earned it and smiled in recognition of my accomplishment.
I bring this up because I am considering submitting some of my writing for awards and grants. I know the submission process is far more complex than my second grade experience. Awards are necessary for a writer. It adds to your resume. I guess it provides evidence that your writing is worth attention.
Authors hide behind text. Our words are our color. We tweak and comprise adjectives, nouns, verbs, and more into streams of writing illusion providing you with a picture that illustrates the scene and action of which a story takes place. As we lose ourselves in our writing, we hope the reader receives the same experience. Can you see, taste, or feel the words? Has the story constructed itself to the expectations of the author and reader? I hope to convey all of the above simplistically and with a good degree of magical intent to capture my young audience. It takes skill as well as instinct. Both of which a Polar Bear has mastered to survive his habitat.  I am still learning about what I need to survive mine.
Polar Bears are brave. They venture alone and independently endure harsh weather, unfathomable obstacles, hunger, and  frigid waters in complete solidarity. Polar bears are strong swimmers in a sea of unknown. They are an inspiration to this Aspiring Children's Book Author.  Can I venture through the black, fathomless waters of writing and somehow learn how to survive my way towards a publishing contract? Well, time is the only medium that will foretell the outcome. Until then, hard work and fortitude will help orchestrate my growth as an author of children's books. 

"Manner is personality—the outward manifestation of one’s innate character and attitude toward life."- Emily Post

rejection is hard but necessary....

Spooky pumpkins!
Today I received a rejection to my query. At first, I was a bit sad. Rejection is never easy. Submitting your art for others to criticize takes courage. Receiving a letter without any constructive criticism is hard. Like many artists, I believe in my work.  It saddens me to know that someone else doesn't.  An agent needs to represent my needs and have an interest for my style of writing. Truthfully, after researching this agency I found myself agreeing with their decision. We were  not a good fit. It just didn't feel right. They asked for exclusivity upon submission. This would have been a red flag to someone who was familiar with the process.  It was my first query out there and their response was timely.  I did appreciate that.  I began to consider what was important to me as a writer. I have 3 stories that I wish to write. Two are children's picture books and the other is a children's/ YA story. I need an agent that will support my creativity and find the right publisher for me.
I find it funny and ironic that a big part of writing is actually reading.
Fall is here and my boys are busy.
It has been a long, hard week on a personal front.  Writing hasn't been the priority but is beginning to become center stage again.  During Nanowrimo, I am going to write the story of Abernathy.  It is National Novel Writing Month in November. I can't participate with site write ins, but I can write.
Andy the Ant is a completed manuscript. My other children's story is about Mean Lou be do and the once tall township of Alamaroo.  This book focuses on tantrums. It is another story written in rhyme. I haven't finished it, but it is on its way there!
Thank you to Mrs. Emily Post and her wise words.  They are my motivation in my pursuit of my writing dreams.
"A genuine, sincere, kindly American man—or woman—can go anywhere and be welcomed by everyone, provided of course, that he is a man of ability and intellect."