Successful Day

What a day.  I have spent nearly 8 hours dedicated to illustrating and formatting “The Jade Serpent.”  It feels so good to be so close.

Koen, the seven year old protagonist in the story, is the artist. I simply place his drawings in the book.  Here is one of his latest:

A Couple Weeks in August

Last week I concluded the two creative writing classes I was teaching at Sacramento State University this summer.  It was really fun to witness the individuality and imaginations of my students.  During the class we went outside and played with bubbles and chalk, creating worlds within worlds, I threw in non-sequiturs and had them write from a variety of perspectives.  Their protagonists were made to be antagonists and ultimately they learned to build suspense and critique each other’s work.  Then they courageously stood up and presented their final story to the class.  It was fantastic to see their minds at work.

Now I am on vacation for two weeks, relaxing up in beautiful Oregon visiting friends and family.  Then a few days on a gorgeous river in the mountains at a little cabin hiking and illustrating.  “The Jade Serpent” is about to fly free in the world.  I can’t wait to share Koen’s next adventure with you all.

Happy Boy! Reminded me of Koen from “The Treasure Chest Mysteries.”

Happy writing.

~ Gretchen

SCBWI Inspiration

Hi All,  I hope Spring has sprung in your neck of the woods.  It is lovely here in Sacramento, CA.  I’ve been out gardening and enjoying the lovely weather on hikes around the area. I’ve also been making some changes to The Jade Serpent. My protagonist is now a young writer.  He is documenting his adventures with his co-conspirator through his retelling of their escapades in writing.  I really like the idea of a young writer.  Maybe I’ll have him sketch along the way too!

Last Saturday I went to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Spring conference (#SCBWISPSP17).  It was my first writer conference and it was packed full of great advice.  I had the chance to speak with Kate Sullivan of Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House) and learn more about what an editor does.  I also went to two talks by Beth Phelan with the Bent Agency and Peter Knapp with Park Literary – both agents.  Everyone offered such great advice and were so nice.  I left not only excited to write, but also determined to submit The Jade Serpent to an agent this spring – yikes!

So of course I came straight home and started reworking the opening, and changed up parts of my protagonist.  So now Koen is a young writer (and illustrator perhaps).  His adventures with Titanus McDuff, the Keeper of the Treasure Chest are still forefront.  But I like the added dimension of his character.  Not only is he afraid of heights, he loves to write.  Here is a doodle I did thinking of Koen awhile back.

Happy Spring to you all!

~Gretchen

Draft Five

For some reason writing has taken a back seat in my life this year.  I teach an after-school writing class and I love creating new ways to engage my class in creative writing.  But when I get home I do not write much.  I go in spurts.  I spend six hours writing on a Saturday and then do not touch my work for weeks.  I’m not sure what my problem is.  Although there hasn’t been consistent writing, I am on draft five of The Jade Serpent.  Through SCBWI, I joined a critique carousel, only to come down with the flu right before and was unable to attend.  I am excited to be going to the SCBWI conference on April 1st and thus am determined to have the book fully edited and flushed out by then so that I can show it to agents if possible.

So my goal by April 1:

  1. Rework one more time
  2. Go through AutoCrit editing software one more time
  3. Complete 5 illustrations

I think it is doable.

How’s your writing coming along?

Gretchen