Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Pressure of the Idea

In the past few weeks I have done a lot of things. I've weeded acres of garlic. I've thinned apple trees. Planted a garden. Run in a race and took first place. (It was a small race... very small. Don't be too impressed.) I've gone on long, lingering bike rides, been to the lake and had a run in with some leeches, read books in the sun. I've filled out a long, confusing application to get our farms certified organic. I've agreed to buy a rundown cabin. I've helped an art client get her social media up and running. I even dug out an old young adult novel I wrote a couple of years ago and started revisions.

One thing I haven't done? Come up with a new picture book idea. Why? Well, I like to think that my brain has been too busy doing all of these other things. On the one hand it bugs me. Why haven't I had an idea? I'm always full of ideas. On the other hand I wonder why I think I need a new idea. I have a bajillion in the filing cabinet, and many more lying around here and there. Really, I need more? Well, yeah. Of course I do! You never know when one will be great.

I do think that sometimes we picture book writers can put a lot of pressure on the idea and forget that the follow through is just as important. And honestly, for me, sometimes my ideas just need to sit a while until I figure them out. I recently finally finished a book whose concept I came up with at least a couple of years ago. I adored the concept but couldn't make it work. When I pulled the manuscript out a couple of months ago I finally figured out how the story needed to play out. It's nothing like what I had come up with at first save one major (and crazy!) plot detail. It's such a better story now and I believe it's ready to face the world.

So, I need to not worry. I know more picture book ideas will come eventually. They always do. I have plenty of other things to work on. And maybe with some focus I could even finish that YA. Now wouldn't that be something.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Patience, Grasshopper.

You know when you write a story and are really excited about it and you can't wait to finish it up so you can get it out into the world and see what happens? Well, that's me. A lot. But especially with the manuscript I've been working on lately. I want it to be done. NOW. But I know better.

I know that if I let my story sit I will come back with fresh eyes and be able to pick out things that don't work well enough. I know that if I wait I will come up with new and better plot twists, characterization, dialogue, and all that other stuff a manuscript needs to go the distance. I know that if I send my manuscript to my critique partner she will point out all sorts of things and make great suggestions on how to improve them. I know that if I just let my brain mull things over my story will get better. And it has.

Do I want to finish this manuscript and send it to my agent to see what she thinks? You bet. But I want to send her my work when it's at its best. I want it to be as ready as it can be. I want her to fall in love with it the way I love it. And to do that I must be patient. No matter how hard it is.

I'm getting close. At least in my opinion. But I'm trying to hold out a bit longer. One thing I found that has made the waiting easier? I'm working on perfecting the pitch. Maybe I'll go work on it some more now before I get too tempted to send the manuscript off.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Monster List of Picture Book Agents - Scott Treimel, S©ott Treimel NY

Update 11/7/2013 -  Scott Treimel has closed to unsolicited submissions but will still be accepting submissions from conference attendees and through references. You can find out all the details by reading the new Submission Policies page.

My last post featured author Ame Dyckman and her debut picture book, BOY + BOT. Ame is represented by Scott Treimel so there's no time like now to feature Scott on the monster list! Ame had two more books forthcoming. I can see why she refers to Scott as "super agent"!

At SCBWI Hawaii, they have a bit of what Scott said regarding craft, how he agents, and what he wants to see in a query. It's from 2005 but relevant. (There are two separate paragraphs. Scroll down.)

There is a nice list of Scott's sales at AgentQuery.

You can see Scott's amazing resume at Linkedin.

Board books through teen novels is listed under genres at Publisher's Marketplace.

Diary of a Children's Book Writer has some interesting notes from the SCBWI NJ 2009 conference.

You can see some response times at the Querytracker website.

You can learn a ton on the S©ott Treimel NY website. There is of course, an about us page and submission guidelines (be sure to use their submission form if you decide to submit). There's also a blog you won't want to miss. There is an offer to "try to answer any and all your STNY-specific or industry-related questions" in the sidebar. What a great opportunity!

You can also find Scott on Twitter.

Scott also represents: Barbara Joose, Maribeth Boelts, and Ellen A. Kelley.

This post is part of the Monster List of Picture Book Agents. If you have any changes that you think should be made to this listing, please contact me or leave them in the comments. Thanks!