Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Posted by Esther Hershenhorn
I traditionally vet the first session of any and all Writers Groups that grow from my classes. I brought along chocolate (dark, milk and white) as well as my copy of Becky Levine’s most helpful The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide (Writer’s Digest, ’10).
Here’s a peek at the cover of first-time author Wendy Kupfer’s picture book Let’s Hear It For Almigal, illustrated by Tammie Lyons (Handfinger Press). I smile at the year that’s come and gone as I worked with Wendy to help her write and ready this story of a spirited Life-loving little girl who just happens to wear a cochlear implant. The book creation business and its seemingly-unending series of First Steps could understandably overwhelm even the most jaded; yet not once did Wendy falter. Now she begins the next necessary First Step: launching her book this May to coincide with Better Hearing and Speech Month.
Yes, indeedy: beginning that story you’ve always wanted to write is quite The First Step, one deserving of praise, of back pats and champagne.
But once you complete it, once you write and revise (of course) the story you're telling, all sorts of challenging yet doable satisfying First Steps follow.
I learned from emails the past three weeks:
a former Novel Workshop student began querying agents;
a writer with whom I worked this year began querying editors;
another prepared to enter her manuscript in the National Children’s Book of the Year Award Contest;
a new non-fiction writer now seeks her MFA degree;
a young adult novelist who earned her MFA now seeks a second Writer Residency.
As for me, next week I begin - teaching my University of Chicago Writer’s Studio Novel Workshop.
I’m almost done reading my way through Anderson’s Bookshop’s Mock Newbery List and the recent blog posts of the Apocalypsies, 2012’s debut middle grade and young adult novelists.
I'm ready to email students the link to PW’s Fall 2011 Flying Starts.
(IMHO, it's never too early to take that First Step.)
No matter the endeavor, more delicious First Steps follow.