About a year and a half ago ago, my fiance, James Monohan, who is a video editor and director, decided that he wanted to start a podcast to talk about story questions, and thus The Narrative Breakdown
was born. (I cannot even type those words without hearing "Narrative
duh-duh-duh-duh-DUM-duh The Narrative Breakdown"
in James's voice, as that is a rough approximation of our theme song, which both cracks me up and makes me do a little groove. It is well worth the listen.) We only recorded three trial episodes last year before our schedules got in the way, but we are back this week with a discussion of Beginnings & Inciting Incidents
, pivoting off my blog post on the subject
last Saturday. James goes on to chat in Part II
with our friend Jack Tomas, screenwriter and proud ubernerd, who discusses the concept of Inciting Incidents as it applies to many of pop culture's biggest properties and this summer's hit movies. We hope to be doing these much more regularly going forward. Do please check the podcast out, subscribe on iTunes
, give us a rating if you like it, and enjoy!
And that is not the only podcast I'm on this week! Keith Hawk and John Granger of Mugglecast Academia kindly had me on their show
to talk about being an editor, particularly my role as the continuity editor on Half-Blood Prince
and Deathly Hallows
. It was a fun conversation that includes some reflections on the HP series and some advice on getting a job in publishing (which I also know I still need to write about here).
Did I ever mention this blog post on the CBC Diversity website
about how I got into publishing? It's probably the best account of my own story I've ever written up -- though I just noticed I did exclude the detail that Arthur thought I was a pothead during our interview, thanks to my red eyes (I was wearing my contacts). He was very kind to have faith in me and let me write reader's reports anyway.
For those of you who wonder why editors don't take unsolicited submissions: As of 8 a.m. this morning, four days after my query-open period began, I have 238 new queries in my inbox. Clearly this is a more concentrated dose than usual or than would happen if I were open all the time. But goodness. If you did not receive a confirmation e-mail (and ONLY if you did not receive a confirmation e-mail, as apparently most people did within 24 hours), you may resend your submission, using the exact same subject line as on your original submission, to CBKedit at gmail dot com, and then e-mail me separately at chavela_que at yahoo dot com with just your name and title. I will reply next week via Yahoo and confirm that those manuscripts got through.
(I have to admit, I am getting VERY testy with people who are not obeying the query instructions -- sending manuscripts to my other addresses, putting elements out of order. They are the world's most straightforward submissions directions, and they are not hard, so it does not make a great first impression if you're not paying attention and obeying them. And if you HAVE messed them up, don't send the ms. again to make up for it. Just go forth and sin no more.)
If you would like a guaranteed way to be able to submit to me in future, I am very happy to announce I'll be at SCBWI Hawaii on February 22 and 23, 2013! I'll be offering both my Plot Master Class to a small group on the Friday and participating in the general conference on the Saturday (with Lin Oliver, who's always fabulous). While a full schedule/registration will be online in November, anyone who's interested now can e-mail the RA, Lynne Wikoff, at lwikoff at lava dot net to get instructions for the Master Class and get on a mailing list for future info.
In other travel news, I'm going to be in Singapore for five days and Thailand for eight later this fall -- my first-ever trip across the Pacific, and I am very
excited. If you have recommendations for things to do or see or ways to avoid jet lag, they'd be much appreciated.
- My author Vicky Alvear Shecter, of Cleopatra's Moon fame, did a great guest post on finding and writing the emotional truth of historical events.
- And my author Bill Konigsberg, of next summer's thought-provoking and hilarious Openly Straight, wrote about what it's like to work with me on a first pass. ALL my authors will recognize those Post-Its.
- Last night I went to see a Fringe Festival NYC improv show called Help Jane Austen Write the Next Big YA Novel. It was not very Jane Austen-y, but it WAS pretty funny, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
- I loved these thoughts from the sadly late Remy Charlip on the physicality of books, especially picture books, and how that affects their narrative flow.
- And McSweeney's Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do made me, a person who teaches others to Write Better Than They Normally Do, wince a little bit as I laughed. Recommended to anyone who has read a few too many writing books.