BY THE NUMBERS with Adrienne, Lindsay, Alison, and Kim

This year is the 25th Anniversary of our Pocono Retreat. We thought what better way to celebrate this milestone than by the numbers! Just look at some of the numbers we found about our region:

On the first night of the retreat we ask that our members introduce themselves BY THE NUMBERS. You can introduce a work-in-progress or give us numerical facts about your writing/illustration career. We thought you might like a few examples. So, for your viewing pleasure, here is your advisory team BY THE NUMBERS.

 

Adrienne Wright, Illustrator Coordinator

As Neil Young said in Powderfinger“…numbers add up to nothin’…” although I prefer the Cowboy Junkies cover, but here goes:

 

1 incident

100s of children killed

40 years later

0 books written for children about the incident

1 iconic photograph of

1 child who was the first to be shot inspired me to write and illustrate the story

1 submission to SCBWI WOOP award led to

1 WOOP win! Gave me the courage to revise and submit and revise and submit to

12 agents and editors for

12 critiques at various events including

3 Pocono retreats over the past

3 years. I believe that

2017 will be the

1 when someone says yes.

It just takes 1!

*

 

Lindsay Bandy, Assistant Regional Advisor and Co-Blog Master

I’m super excited for the Pocono Retreat this year – seeing faraway friends, meeting new writers and illustrators, learning from our fab staff, and gaining insight and inspiration for my current Work-In-Progress. The theme of NUMBERS is perfect for me right now, because my working title happens to be: THREE.

If my engineer of a dad is reading this, he’s surely laughing that his math phobic daughter is choosing to work with numbers. Any other Math Phobes out there? I may actually be better with numbers than I am with maps, but that’s another story. Anyway, I’m working with a small number – 3, which I think I can handle. The story is based on the Roman/Greek myths of the 3 Sisters of Fate, and it takes place in 3 different time periods.

Aside from the 3 Sisters, there are 3 recurring characters: 1 Boy, 1 Girl, and 1 Cat, who ONCE upon a time, disobeyed these fearsome 3 Sisters. They were given 3 punishments in 3 different lives/times: (In case you thought I could only count to three, look below to see that I also work with elevens!)

1711

1911

2011

If these 3 can beat the Fates at their own game, they just might get to live happily ever after….

I currently have 21 documents in my story folder, including ragtag drafts, character development, and files sent to friends for critique. I tried the book in 1st person and 3rd person, and it’s now a mix of the 2. And there’s poetry!

I’ve been working on it for 7 months.

I’ve changed my female main character’s name 4 times.

And it’s driven me semi-crazy at least 7 times. Maybe more!

But who’s counting?!

*

 Alison Green Myers, Co-Regional Advisor

This is the fastest draft to revision toHey, I think I might actually like this thing?” feeling I have ever had about a novel. (Don’t worry, the crippling self-doubt isn’t too far behind.)

It’s my 7th completed novel.

The first draft had 37,091 words.

The second major revision has 54,961 words. (I’ll let you know after the 100th revision.)

It takes place over 1 summer

where a group of 4 girls

cross over 2,000 miles together,

while working on a traveling carnival.

It’s their final summer together (the 5th that they traveled in all.)

The word egg appears 52 times in the novel. More than “love” or “family”, which are the major themes of the story.

I wrote 9 versions of the first 500 words for an editor/agent round table at mid-winter SCBWI in February 2017. I really like the 1 that I kept.

This story feels like 1 long apology letter to the characters in the pages because they were the real characters that I traveled on a carnival with 20+ years ago. I cut 1 beloved character from this version of the novel and sent another 1 to the hospital. I love the real people who inspired this novel more than any number I could copy onto this page.

See you soon at Pocono 2017!

Can’t wait to celebrate 25 years with all of you!

*

 Kim Briggs, Co-Regional Advisor

November 24, 2010, the night before Thanksgiving, husband bought 1 laptop, and I began writing Starr Fall, my young adult series.

 

500,000 words later 1 draft of the story complete.

Broke into 3 books.

Edited Starr Fall: Book One 1 time before sending to 8 agents.

0 Requests.

 

By Fall 2011, switched tense of Starr Fall from past to present.

Edited new draft 1 time before sending to 10 agents (many repeats of 1st round).

0 Requests.

 

Wrote New Book with werewolves and magic.

Edited draft 2 times before submitting to 15 agents (many repeats of 1st & 2nd round).

0 Requests.

 

Joined SCBWI October 2011.

Attended NYC SCBWI 2012.

1100 attendees.

1st Writing Conference.

Met 1 Alison Green Myers.

Formed 1 Critique Group meeting every 2 weeks for 2 years.

 

Received 1st Writing Scholarship and attended 1st Highlights Foundation Workshop with Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson.

Told Werewolf and Magic Book needed to be 3 Books.

Put 1 Werewolf and Magic book in drawer.

 

Returned to Starr Fall.

Edited.

Submitted again.

0 Requests but positive feedback.

 

2013

Discovered category called New Adult.

Wrote And Then He with intention to self-pub.

Attended Unicorn Writing Conference.

1st time formal critiques with 2 agents.

Received 1 Scholarship to attend Eastern PA SCBWI Pocono Retreat.

Met 1 Donna Boock. (Added her to our 1 Critique Group.)

Met 1: Isabel Bandeira, Adrienne Wright, Leslie Helakoski, Kathryn Erskine, Marilyn Lorenz, Wendy Greenley, Chrissa Pederson, Ellen Ramsey, Reid Bramlett, Kristen Strocchia, Kit Grindstaff, Gayle Krause, Wes Loder…

 

Attended Eastern PA SCBWI Fall Philly.

1st Writing Conference that I volunteered to help facilitate.

2014 Winter. Became Assistant Regional Advisor of Eastern PA SCBWI.

2014 Summer. Became Co-Regional Advisor of Eastern PA SCBWI.

 

2014-2017

Met every 2 weeks with critique group, now called INKSisters.

Attended free writing craft sessions,

Highlights Foundation Workshops and Unworkshops,

read DOZENS of craft books and young adult novels,

and wrote all the time.

Did not sleep or clean.

Ate chocolate.

Drank chai.

 

Rewrote beginning of Starr Fall 23 times.

Edited Starr Fall at least 10 times.

Submitted to targeted agents only.

Received FULL Manuscript Requests.

Wrote Starr Lost (Book Two) in 1 month.

 

Rewrote and edited And Then He upwards of 10 times.

Pubbed And Then He: A Psychological Thriller, October 15, 2015

(My Birthday. Ate 1 cake.)

 

Wrote new New Adult: Avalanche in 2 weeks.

Put in drawer.

 

December 26, 2015 received 1 Offer of Publication from Inkspell Publishing.

January 5, 2016, 1 signed contract for Starr Fall series.

 

Rewrote and edited Starr Fall with 1 Vicky Burkholder 3 times.

Rewrote Starr Lost (Book Two) in 1 month. (Edited multiple times)

Wrote Starr Gone (Book Three) in 5 months. (Edited multiple times)

Edited Starr Lost with 1 Vicky Burholder 3 times.

Edited Starr Gone with 1 Vicky Burkholder 3 times.

Nov. 4, 2016 Starr Fall: Book One released.

Jan. 6, 2017 Starr Lost: Book Two released.

February 14, 2017: Avalanche released as a novella with Valentine Kisses: A Kiss to Last a Lifetime. 6 Authors contributed to the anthology with 6 sweet and sizzling romances.

(Coming soon… June 2, 2017 Starr Gone: Book Three.)

 

Currently working on the Werewolf and Magic book turned Celtic Mythology retelling with Original Mythology of werewolf.

5 beginnings attempted by

3 different characters,

3 POVs,

and 2 tenses.

 

# of Dark Chocolate Bars consumed per year? 36 (give or take)

# of rooms cleaned since I began writing? 0

# of friends, contacts, and opportunities since joining SCBWI? Googolplex (I love that word!)

 

Hope our introductions got your creative minds flowing.

We can’t wait to hear your BY THE NUMBERS intros at the

2017 Pocono Mountain Retreat.

Click here to register now.

 

 

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10 Responses to BY THE NUMBERS with Adrienne, Lindsay, Alison, and Kim

  1. Adrienne – I believe 2017 will be your year too! Lindsay — you have lots of 3s and 7s which are lucky! Alison – I’m most impressed by one of your smaller numbers. Seven completed novels is a lot! Kim – Thanks for sharing all of your 0s. Your perseverance and hard work paid off in the end!

  2. I can’t believe you are all so organized as to have actual numbers. And to remember when you met who! All I know is SCBWI is fantastic and I am glad to have met all of you for the long haul. Writing careers are marathons, not sprint (and no, I can’t give you the distances in numbers)

    • Kim Briggs says:

      Writing Careers are a marathon for sure! That’s why I like to carb up with baked goods, chai, and chocolate! I am so happy to have met you at the very beginning!! Hope to see you soon…

  3. Kristen C.S. says:

    So much fun! Though I’m definitely a math phobe with Lindsay. I’m so excited to be included in the met-through SCBWI EPA shout out, Kim! And Adrienne and Alison, your numbers have me hooked…I’ve just got to know about the shooting and why egg showed up 52 times in your ms! So intrigued, ladies! See you at the Pocono Retreat. =)

    • Ah, the egg. You’ll definitely get a kick out of this manuscript with your love of food and fiction! Can’t wait to hear all of your numbers! I’d imagine there will be a recipe or two from your manuscript.

  4. Phew, I thought this was going to be paint by numbers – not life by numbers 😉 I’m a terrible at painting within in the lines, but I’ll work on my numbers. Loved all of yours!

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