Writing quote

Sure, it's simple writing for kids...Just as simple as raising them.
— Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, July 20, 2007


My last major writing project before the summer was the WAD fest (Writers, Actors, Directors), a 24 hour play festival in which writers have 12 hours to write a script based on a randomly selected theme, and the director and actors have 12 hours to learn their lines and stage the play. The writers get the night shift (from 8 pm. to 8 am.), so pumped with coffee, my co-writer, Paul Kubin, and I set upon the task to write a 10 min. play on this year's theme of "Travel". You can view the play here: "The Future of IPLA"
or on my website.

It was a blast! Who needs drugs? Caffeine and pure adrenaline is a potent mix, and inspite of some uncertainty over role distribution (how do we split the writing? Do each of us take one of the characters? Do we write different scenes? etc.), Paul and I had fun, especially in the brainstorming department. In the end, for consistency and continuity, it was best that only one of us was at the computer even though the other threw out ideas for dialogue and scenes during the collaboration process.

The main thing I learned about the art of collaboration, especially when you only have 12 hours to complete the project, is:
• Check your ego at the door -- it doesn't matter who does what, it's about the finished product
• Play to your strength -- the dialogue flowed out of Paul's fingers onto the keyboard, whereas in the few moments I tried
to take over while Paul took a break, I froze (I could never write well under pressure). I had a much easier time with
brainstorming and that was the fun part for me.

We finished the play at 7:45 am. with 15 mins. to print and get it to the director and actors, then off to catch up on some sleep. It was thrilling watching all the plays performed and marvelling at what some of the other teams did in 24 hours. Our actors and director did a fabulous job with the time they had -- what an immensely talented group! I'm looking forward to next year's WAD fest and with any luck, I'll be able to work with the same team.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


We all know that the publishing business is as slow as molasses, right? Especially when you're working without an agent like I am. But sometimes, no news can really be good news. Take the picture book manuscript I have circulating around the publishing world right now. I sent it to several publishers back in November. I received a rejection letter from Hyperion in 4 weeks, and one from Boyds Mill Press in 5. which goes to show that rejections tend to come a lot faster than acceptances. That's because if a manuscript generates some interest it has to go through several layers of scrutiny and evaluation before the publishing house decides to purchase it. Which leaves us writers a little hope if we don't get a speedy rejection.

Finally, after seven months of waiting, I wrote to Tricycle Press to inquire about my manuscript. Editor Susan McCombs e-mailed me to say that Summer Dawn Laurie, to whom I had originally sent my manuscript, no longer worked at Tricycle Press (this is another drawback of the publishing business -- editors come and go -- even though Summer had been with Tricycle for about 10 years, I believe). However, she had shared my story with Susan before she left (Yay! It wasn't left to languish in the slush pile), and Susan wanted to keep the manuscript longer for consideration. What does that mean? I asked. She wanted to take it to the next editorial meeting (Double Yay!) Considering the volume of submissions most publishing houses receive and the stiff competition writers face to get editors to take note of their work, it's exciting news indeed if your manuscript makes it to an editorial meeting.

And how much longer? Susan wrote: "After the meeting, occasionally members of the staff ask to read the manuscripts at another time, which can take another month or two depending on the number of projects they have pending." So, I may not know anything definitively till sometime in August or September. But I'm on the e-mail track now which means communication is so much easier and faster. E-mail rocks! I just hope it rocks even better news in a month or two.

In the meantime, I'm keeping myself from checking my e-mail obsessively. Thank God, for summer vacation! Between keeping my kids busy and trying to find time to finish my other picture book manuscript (I'm heavily in the revision process right now), and beginning work on my Young Adult novel, I'm lucky if I get to my e-mail once a day.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Okay, my blog disease has been cured. Somehow, I ended up with two blogger accounts -- decent picture of me (so you know who I am), nice font account; and no picture, messed up font account. How I got here, I do not know. The whole cyber thing is a total mystery to me. Wouldn't it be nice though, if that kind of thing happened in real life? Like at the bank?

"Miss Yim, we've discovered that you have another account with us. And it has a $1,000,000 in it."

Or at a publisher's?

"Miss Yim, we just found out that we've published your other book. And it's a New York times bestseller."

Sigh. Only in the blogging world.