Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Oh cool -- maggots"

Sadly, this scene had to be cut because it was too similar to another portion of the story that accomplishes the same thing (though, some of it will be combined to that scene). It was tough to cut this part out because it does speak to how gross and mean the bully character, Slim is.

I have started a "MAYBE LATER" file and included this scene in it... I know that someday, somewhere, a 10 year-old boy will need a story where a bully stuffs a dead animal into a lady's purse.

(I also now know that I can't spell the word hurricane -- Thanks, spellcheck for revealing my ignorance to the world -- and by world, I mean the seven people who read this blog... OK, six.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Comedians Think They're SO Funny

Celebrity funnyman and political satirist Stephen Colbert is publishing a children's book...
...and many of the writers and illusators I know are outraged.

Personally, I don't think it's a big deal at all. This is a (very intelligent) comedian doing what comedians do--make JOKES. If anything, I think he's bringing attention to the sad fact that a celebrity can easily have a (often poorly written) book published. This fact is not lost on him -- It's what he's trying to poke fun at!

"It's been a lifelong dream of mine to write a children's book," Colbert said in a statement. "I hope the minutes you and your loved ones spend reading it are as fulfilling as the minutes I spent writing it."

Is this REALLY even a children's book? Is Barnes & Noble going to put it on their picture book rack knowing that the people who may look for it will be 20something Colbert fans? It's a tongue-in-cheek book for fans of his comedy and will be marketed as such.

As I prospective writer and illustrator, I'm going to be more worried about the things I can control... And continue enjoying a very funny, unique talent.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

QUANDARY 2.22.12: Anatomy of a garbage truck

QUANDARY: Will boys ages 9-12 know the parts of a garbage truck by name (hopper or compactor)?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

QUANDARY 2.21.12

QUANDARY: Can a kid character talk about an elderly woman's big boobs in a chapter book for 9-12 year-olds?

I try to push the envelope of funny in what I write. A written piece always needs to be age appropriate and sometimes it's tough to judge how far is too far. I DON'T like to censor myself too much. I would rather have my agent tell me that I have crossed the line than find out a joke would have been acceptable and not tried it.


"Here, use the baby carrier," I said, untangling the straps.
"You're aunt's not going to like... need it for the baby?" said Presley.
"Not a chance -- her huge boobs would just be in the way," I explained.
"Oh, yah, I guess you're like... right."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hard Decisions

I LOVE writing. I LOVE rewriting (If you like to write, you better love rewriting). But sometimes it is REALLY hard to make cuts. I try to follow the mantra of "if something doesn't move the plot, move or build the character, than it doesn't belong in a narrative work." If it accomplishes one or both of these things AND it's funny, all the better... but if it's JUST funny, it's got to go. And a better mantra: "If it CAN be cut, it probably should be"

Those are the cuts that can be hard to make.

Case in point: Here's a screen grab of a page from the chapter book I'm working on.

The circled bit of dialogue (I realize it is a bit out of context without the preceding pages' events) is entirely inspired by a real conversation between my sublimely dry-witted college roommate and his (umm... eccentric) mother.

But, does it REALLY move the story? COULD it be cut? That's what I'm grappling with today.