An 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.
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 Bottomley, was 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.