Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Consultation with Simone Kaplan

Several weeks ago I entered a contest on Katie Davis' blog in response to her podcast, Brain Burps About Books.  I had actually forgotten about it until one day I received an email from Katie letting me know that I had won something, and I had better listen to her next podcast.  






Sure enough, I tuned in and was quickly reminded that editor, Simone Kaplan, had agreed to generously donate her time for 3, half-hour manuscript consultations.  MY NAME WAS CALLED!!!  I never win anything (except for a game of Bingo on a cruise back in 1995).  I was so excited that I began trying to figure out which manuscript to send in for evaluation.


I selected a manuscript that I have been working on periodically for about 5 years.  I have always loved the quirkiness of the main character. . . Simone did too.  I have always enjoyed her playfulness and individuality. . . Simone did too.  I have always thought that the readers would be anxious to turn the pages. . . Simone did not.


Not only did Simone and I spend a half an hour working together on how to remedy this page turning situation, we spent close to one full hour!  We brainstormed together about a variety of scenarios that the main character could experience.  She helped to break down picture book structure for me in a way that it had not been done before--this really helped me as a visual learner.  


I took copious notes throughout our conversation, and can't wait to get started on revising.  


Do I think that this manuscript is going to turn into something that allows me to purchase a whole fleet of new cars?  No, but I DO think that the experience of reworking this story in a variety of different ways will help me to become a better writer.  After all, as an author I have a vision in my head of what my story is to look and feel like.  The key, however, is relaying that vision to the readers.  If my intentions are not clear to the readers, then I need to do what is necessary to get my story told in an effective way.


Thank you Katie for offering this drawing, I love your podcast and can't wait for the next one.


Thank you so much Simone donating your editorial services, and for taking the time to talk with me this morning.  I know that I learned a lot from you, and I look forward to reintroducing Penelope-Mae to you after she has attended finishing school.

27 comments:

  1. How exciting, Sandi. I think these sorts of opportunities can be small, or large, turning points for us in our creative journeys. Yay also to wonderful fellow authors and editors who make generate these moments for us. Looking forward to meeting penelope-Mae!

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    1. This was an incredible opportunity. Penelope-Mae needs some work, and then I hope to introduce her to the world for all of you to meet.

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  2. This is great! How wonderful that she was willing to spend so much time with you, and that it was such productive time. All the best with this project!

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    1. It sure was, and will continue to be as I revise.

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  4. Like a master-class for one, how wonderful! I'm glad Simone could help your story its way. Now your quirky character can fly.

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  5. I am so glad you had a positive experience. Can't wait to read about your "quirky" character!

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  6. I'm so happy for you that you won and that you got so much out of your session. Isn't it euphoric when you feel like you've made a breakthrough in your writing?

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    1. It is like the sun has come out after a dark rain cloud.

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  7. Thanks for sharing your experience. Glad to hear you were able to get a lot out of the consultation.

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  8. Lucky you! Looking forward to seeing what develops.

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    1. It was great. I am anxious to get to work!

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  9. Congrats on the win--sounds like you learned a lot! Would you be willing to share an example of a page turn that didn't work for your story vs. one that did? What kinds of changes did Simone recommend? Thanks for the great post!

    Lori Alexander

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    1. Most of the changes that she suggested involved a lot of reformatting. She liked the concepts that I had in the story, but almost felt that they could be divided up into separate books and told in a new way.

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  10. That's awesome Sandi - thanks for letting us peek inside your critique/consultation process. I'm very curious about how the editorial relationship evolves between writer and editor. It sounds like your connection with Simone was strong and will have a long lasting positive effect on your writing. Congratulations!

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    1. I think that you are right. I think that I can take her suggestions on this story, and relate them to all of the picture books that I work on in the future. I hope to be in contact with Simone again.

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  11. Thanks for sharing your experience! Best wishes on the rewrite!

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    1. You are very welcome. I am looking forward to it.

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  12. What a wonderful experience! Congrats Sandi.

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  13. Ha! Yes, the ever elusive fleet of cars! Sounds like a great, experience, Sandi. Good luck with the revisions.

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    1. Thanks. Maybe I will go for world wide vacations too...

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  14. Sandi...I imagine it feels great to have a clearer definition of how to make your manuscript come to life for the readers. Best wishes on your revisions and so glad your session was such a success!

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