Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rutgers One-on-One Conference

Yesterday, I had my one-on-one mentoring session at Rutgers. My mentor was Margaret Woollatt, Associate Editor at Dutton. When I found out that Margaret edited If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen, I was very excited... it's my son's favorite book! (It also happens to be in rhyme!)

We started with THREE NINJA PIGS, but Rutgers allows 45 minutes for the session, so she was able to read and comment on three additional manuscripts.

Margaret is the kind of person who- unlike me- thinks before she speaks. I blurt. Our conversation went something like this...

MARGARET: This story has a strong hook, but I think when you write in rhyme, you take your story down a notch in terms of the age of your audience.

ME: blah blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah- blah, blah.

MARGARET: So, that means... you can afford to be sillier.

ME: blah, blah, blah, blah blah blah?

MARGARET: Well, you have a lot of serious stanzas. A lot of real conflict. Make it WHACKED OUT.

ME: blah, blah, BLAH, blah-blah. blah, BLAH BLAH.

MARGARET: You don't even have to be bound by reality so much. Seuss dealt with some serious topics, but he did it in a totally silly way.

ME: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... blah?

MARGARET: And make sure everything is relatable to kids. In If I Built a Car, Van Dusen says that the car smells like blueberry muffins. All kids know what that smells like. He's not just talking about carburators and spark plugs.

ME: Blah, blah, blah, thanks blah blah so much.

What I like about Margaret's comments is that they are applicable to nearly all rhyming PBs, not just one specific manuscript.

She gave me a lot to think about.

21 comments:

beth said...

I *adore* how you posted your dialog!! HAHA!

It is true, though--rhyme is allowed to be sillier. When I was teaching my high schoolers about the Holocaust, one of them pointed me to a Dr. Seuss parody of Hitler's fascism that blew my mind! (Yertle the Turtle is the title, I believe)

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, I LOVE Yertle the Turtle! Seuss is my idol.

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Deb Markanton said...

LOL! I guess the advice has already started working for you...your post is hilarious!
Thanks for sharing her insights!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

*picking self off floor* I can't stop laughing. That is sooooo funny. You get an A+ on this post. And I can't wait to read your sillier and sillier pigs.

Yat-Yee said...

That made me smile. Thanks.

hytime said...

Blah, blah, blah. Blah. Blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah. Blah. Blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah. Blah. Blah, blah.
Love,
Dad

Corey Schwartz said...

Yeah, when you choose your words carefully, you are much more likely to say something worthwhile :)

My last mentor, Agent Sean McCarthy, was similar to Margaret. Weighed his thoughts and then gave very insightful comments.

Rebecca said...

Cool! We have an excuse to be sillier. Should be fun!

storyqueen said...

Now Corey, I am certain that you were more eloquent than blah, blah, blah.....(however, I am picturing this in my head...kind of like how the teacher in the old Peanuts cartoons sounded.)

I joke with my students that I am gong to write a book called Blah. The first chapter is titled Blah, the second is Blah, blah....and so on for twenty chapters. yep.

Anyway, how lucky you were to have such a cool meeting. Totally jealous.

Shelley

MG Higgins said...

This is so funny, Corey, and it's exactly how I feel when I've had crit meetings with editors at conferences. I get nervous and end up sounding like a complete amateur.

Lis Garrett said...

LOL! Hahahaha! Oh, I got such a kick out of this post. Your dialogue was great.

Good advice, though!

Susan R. Mills said...

I guess this just gives you an excuse to be silly right? What a great conversation you had with her.

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

Corey--She told you to be sillier!!?? That's like the key to the city! Double chocolate on the ice cream! What fun!

Hey--while you're there, you should look for my author-brother, Scott Heydt. He and I both have books coming out from PM Moon next year. He's at Rutgers too.

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

Talk about silly--my verification word was "bugur"!

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh gosh, I'm so jealous. In person, one on one editor feedback.

T. Anne said...

I'm going to be saying blah, blah, blah all day now and It's all your fault.

Hardygirl said...

This is too funny!!

And, man, this conference sounds DREAMY!! I want to know more about it. Off to google . . .

sf

Crystal said...

That was TOO FUNNY, Corey! Love *your* dialogue! And aren't those Rutgers conferences fabulous? I went last year (based on my middle grade novel) and received some great revision tips from my mentor (Shauna Fay, asst. ed. G.P.Putnam's), too.

Kelly H-Y said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I'm so excited that you get this incredible opportunity ... congrats! By the way ... JUST read (well, my son read) that very book last night and LOVED it ... my kids got such a kick out of the car smelling like blueberry muffins ... oh, and having a pool! :-)

Dawn Simon said...

Hee! Hee! Fun post! I'm sure you were asking good questions and making intelligent comments, but I totally know what you mean! It sounds like you had a really great meeting. :)