Here are the Winners of the Fiercely Competitive 2019 Sue Alexander Grant!

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By Karol Ruth Silverstein, SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator

SAG_WinnerThe 2019 Sue Alexander Grant drew nearly 60 manuscripts, making the anonymous judges’ decisions all the more difficult. In fact, in the final scoring, the winning manuscript edged out the runner-up by a single point!

We’re thrilled to announce this year’s winner: Continue reading

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Interview with Amanda Isabel Ramirez, Assistant Editor and 2019 SCBWI CenCal Writer’s Day Faculty Member

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By Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison

AmandaAmanda Isabel Ramirez, Assistant Editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, is on the faculty of the SCBWI CenCal Writers’ Day, Saturday, October 12, 2019. She has worked with award-winning authors, including Neal Shusterman, Andrew Smith, Katherine Rundell, and Tim Federle. She has also written numerous articles for such publications as The Celebrity Café and Puckermob. We are very excited she is joining us in October.

ANN ROUSSEAU SMITH: Welcome to the Kite Tales blog! Our theme for Writers’ Day is “The Creative Life for Me.” As a writer and editor, what can you share about living the creative life?  Continue reading

Agent Jennifer Tran on Querying and the Agent-Client Relationship

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Jennifer-Chen-TranAgent Jennifer Chen Tran is on faculty for this year’s SCBWI-L.A. Working Writers Retreat (WWR).

She joined the Bradford Literary in 2017, and represents fiction and nonfiction. She’s interested in diverse writers and #ownvoices from underrepresented/ marginalized communities, strong and conflicted characters who are not afraid to take emotional risks, stories about multi-generational conflict, war and post-war fiction, and writing with a developed sense of place. In non-fiction, she loves books that broaden her world view or shed new light on “big ideas.”

Originally from New York, Jennifer was an associate agent at Fuse Literary and served as Counsel at The New Press before becoming an agent at Bradford Literary. She obtained her Juris Doctor from Northeastern School of Law and her B.A. in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis.

She took some time to answer our questions about her work, how first-time authors can shine, and her wishlist.

ERLINA VASCONCELLOS: What are the biggest mistakes made by first-time authors? 

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#KTWriteOn With Illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi: Sequential Art

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Welcome to the Kite Tales Writing Prompt: #KTWriteOn. Each writing challenge is crafted by a kid-lit publishing professional to help spark ideas and creative energy. This prompt was created by author and illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

By Debbie Ridpath Ohi

I’ve always been a fan of sequential art – art forms that use images for the purpose of graphic storytelling. Back in childhood, the first comic I created was about a baby named Boppy, and I shared it with my family. Sadly, I didn’t keep any samples. I kept working on different comics over the years, just for the fun of it. I loved the challenge of trying to distill the essence of a story or story scene in just a few panels. My focus was on the story, not the art, and connecting with readers. You can see samples of my early webcomics at Waiting For Frodo, Will Write For Chocolate, and My Life In A Nutshell.

When I read sequential art nowadays, I read more graphic novels than regular comics – I like the longer form. I may work on my own someday. Who knows? But meanwhile, I have found sequential art is also a wonderful way to brainstorm ideas for character, plot, and dialog.

Here is a writing prompt for you all. Take a look at the following:

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Too Much of a Very Good Thing? Or: The KITE TALES Team is Changing!

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Sometimes doing a good thing, even a very good thing, is not necessarily the best thing for us. It’s hard to know when boundaries need to be placed, when risks need to be taken, when the unknown is better for us than the relative safety of routine. It’s hard to change. But as writers and illustrators, we must be protective of our time, our creative mental space, and recognize when a good thing, even a very good thing, could be getting in the way. Continue reading

SCBWI-L.A. Twitter Banner Contest Winner: Illustrator Gela Kalaitzidis

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HS_Gela_2In SCBWI-L.A.’s latest Twitter Banner Contest (a bi-annual event), illustrators were asked to submit their most creative response to our prompt: EXPLORE. The winning contestant’s artwork is featured on the Los Angeles Region SCBWI Twitter Profile until the next contest with a feature article published here on Kite Tales. Illustrator Gela Kalaitzidis won! Read on to learn more about Gela, her tips and tools, and her own illustration prompt for anyone looking for some inspiration.

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Ask an Editor: Writing Accents and Using Slang

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“Ask an Editor” is a forum wherein SCBWI members submit questions that are answered as part of our quarterly Kite Tales blog.

Dear Editor – How do I write in an accent or use slang when it’s not the way I speak?

—Yolie, Westside

Dear Yolie – Let’s start with some definitions. Accents are “speech habits typical of the natives or residents of a region” while slang is a defined as “language peculiar to a particular group” (Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary).

ACCENTS: With accents, sparing use can be more effective. While some stories may carry an accent throughout, this works only when it’s done well and is easy for the reader to follow. Continue reading

Five Tips for Event Promotion from SCBWI-L.A. PAL Makers Mixer

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by E. L. Tenenbaum

makers-mixer-e-l-tenenbaum1 Last month, SCBWI-L.A. held its first Makers Mixer, which gave SCBWI PAL members — agented or not — a chance to pitch intellectual property to film and TV representatives. However, a major highlight of the evening came in-between pitches, when writers and illustrators chatted with fellow authors, sharing ideas, experiences, and encouragement. Here are five takeaways from the night to help promote you and your work at events.

  1. Be Display Ready

Of course, your book is coming with you to events, but can you make it stand out in the limited space you have? Continue reading

Peer2Peer Critique Day 2019: Leave Your First-Timer Worries Behind

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By Amber June Davis

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into the Skirball Cultural Center on June 2, for my first Peer2Peer Critique Day. I’d been to critique groups and workshops over the years, but none with a professional reputation like SCBWI’s. My hands shook a little. Who would be there? Would they all be vastly more experienced than me? But I knew I was ready to take this step, and had six copies of a picture book manuscript I was proud of tucked under my arm. I pushed through the courtyard door.

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Illustrator Joie Foster on How to Stop Rushing Towards “Next” and Steamrolling Your Achievements

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By Joie Foster

You work toward a goal for ages, but when you finally achieve it, it feels like nothing more than a checkbox to be crossed off on your way to the next thing. Your sweet victory suddenly tastes so bland. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Today I’m going to share three tips to help you stop moving your creative goalposts and celebrate wins! Continue reading