|photo from http://patricianewmanbooks.blogspot.com/|
Diane starts with a history of her career as a children's book editor and an author. She invites the class to reformat their manuscripts the way she lays them out, which is, at times, a radical departure from what most of us have learned is industry standard formatting. The caveat, however, is you do this only on your personal copy of the manuscript to see how it informs your self-editing. And all authors must self-edit, says Diane, so who better to teach us how than an editor! Her ideas are superb, making authors who don't draw think visually, mapping out every single page turn and writing up all possible illustrations ideas.
The class looks at the evolution of Diane's book, WE PLANTED A TREE. A gorgeous hardcover illustrated by Bob Staake. She hands out a copy of her original manuscript. A story she thought about for ten years before actually putting pen to paper. Diane credits the powerful ideas and images in Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai's book about the Green Belt Movement in Kenya as being the inspiration behind WE PLANTED A TREE.
The next few sessions, attendees will be doing in-class exercises using existing picture book texts as well as their own manuscripts to learn about format, pagination, and art notes. Diane says all stories start out as lumps of clay and she's going to provide tools (like how to have good flow, suspense and mood in your story) to help attendees edit themselves and build stronger books.
This is going to rock! It sold out on the first day of conference registration, so here's hoping they do this again.
One attendee I recognized from my local SCBWI WWA was John Deininger. Check out his artwork in the portfolio show tonight, or on his site.