A New Chapter, by Lauren LeBlanc

luggage-1482697_1280An aspiring novelist and founder of the Collegeville KidLit Writers Group is packing her bags at the end of the summer and moving from suburban Philadelphia to Dallas, Texas. Here, she submits herself for consideration into the Dallas chapter of SCBWI.

Dear New, Warmer, Southern Chapter of SCBWI,

My family is relocating to your greater metropolitan area at the end of the summer, an area where I have a few “regular” friends and zero writing friends, so I’d like to submit my work—or, I guess, myself, really—for consideration.

First, about me. I’m a writer, though not yet an agented or published one. (I mean, I have a few articles and essays floating around out there, but who doesn’t, amiright?) I started as a picture book writer, then a chapter book writer, and now I’ve moved on to the dream of so many good English majors (or journalism majors, in my case)—writing a novel. Mine is for middle schoolers, and it’s about halfway finished, so I’m hoping you’ll find room for me in your ranks. I like to do a lot of online shopping, so I need extra strength accountability.

Um, maybe here’s where I should list my selling points? I’m a go-getter, in that I go and get things that aren’t that far from the couch. I did start a critique group here in Pennsylvania and complete a not-so-easy children’s lit fellowship in New York, but I think lots of writers do stuff like that, so, let’s see… Something unique about me…

Oh! I make a killer salsa. Everyone says so. I can bring some to meetings. Or… are there meetings? How does this work? Will I mostly be cloistered at home in my laundry room/office—dubbed the “lauffice”—corresponding to you guys through email? Because I think my dog is getting sick of being my sounding board. Also, seeing other grownups sometimes would be great. (See the above note about the salsa. Really. It’s that good.)

What else, what else… I’d also love any tips you guys could provide for maintaining a healthy writing routine while I drive two kids, one dog, and one high-maintenance betta fish 1,500 miles across the country. What’s the recommended procedure for that? My writing routine, though effective, is as delicate as a soufflé. I’m worried it’s gonna fall apart just as easily. Any tips you could provide for writing in transit would be most appreciated.

That’s it, I guess. To recap: lauffice, salsa, betta fish, soufflé… or something.

Also, please be nice. The Pennsylvania writers I’ve met are so nice. Please just don’t be mean to me. 

With hope,

Lauren LeBlanc

PS: You bring the chips.

Lauren LeBlanc has been an active member of SCBWI for two years, though she wrote her first picture book manuscript fourteen years ago. She is a 2015 Children’s Literature Fellow at SUNY Stony Brook, where she studied under Emma Walton Hamilton, Cindy Kane, Patricia McCormick, and Ann Whitford Paul. Her chapter book, How To Be a Bad Guy, by Dallas Bottomleywas the 2016 winner of the SCBWI Work-In-Progress Grant for chapter books, the only winner in its genre and one of only six winners nationwide. Lauren also works as a stage and commercial actor and is a former award-winning language arts teacher and newspaper reporter. The bit about the salsa is real.

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7 Responses to A New Chapter, by Lauren LeBlanc

  1. Wendy says:

    We did the reverse, moving kids, dogs etc from TX to PA! We were lucky to have relatives in NJ, so we flew the kids ahead because the dogs were big ones. Just call ahead to find hotels that take the pooches AND have room service or are near drive thrus (we didn’t want to leave the dogs in crates by themselves in the room, and certainly wouldn’t leave them in a hot car). People in TX are great! It seemed like they had a lot of people moving in and out so they were open and helpful to newcomers. Good luck!

  2. Kristen C.S. says:

    I just did a 2.5 week road trip in which I maintained my writing/revising while my husband drove and at nights when my children slept…wait, that’s pretty much where my writing normally fits anyway. Best of luck with the move! You will be missed in PA, but no doubt loved in TX too! Blessings =)

  3. Laura Parnum says:

    Dear Texas, Lauren is awesome. Good luck, Lauren! We’ll miss you here in PA.

  4. Our loss is their gain. Thanks for succinctly sharing our insecurities and foibles in a public forum. Don’t forget to update us on your journey. Out of state is not out of mind!

  5. Safe journey and happy landings in TX. I’m sure SCBWI will be there to catch you with open arms.

  6. Laura Marinakos says:

    Good luck, Lauren! I’m positive you will do wonderful things in Texas!

  7. adillustration says:

    Good luck Lauren. Happy trails and happy tales.

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