Saturday, April 28, 2012

Children's Book: Complete! + Other News

As it turns out, the children's book project that I undertook in February was a huge success. Let me tell you about it.

The whole idea for this project began in an Honors class I am taking at Northern Arizona University called "Pay it Forward." Seen the movie? Same kind of deal. If you haven't seen it, don't worry. Our projects were to focus on "paying it forward" through writing. But not just any kind of writing; our overall goal was to 1) write to "change the world" and 2) interact with the world in some way. Yeah, pretty daunting for a Freshman undergraduate student. But with the assistance of my partner in crime, Molly, we devised a way to do just that. Both of us expressed interest in writing a children's book, so we combined forces. We would write and illustrate a children's book together, then present and read it to a class of elementary school children. That way, we would be interacting and sharing our gifts with the world, even if just to a small portion of it.

We had some roadblocks along the way (too many characters, too lengthy, formatting issues, etc.) but overall, I'm incredibly pleased with the results. The story turned out pretty linear--as many children's book tend to, especially under a time constraint--but the illustrations came out quite beautifully, if I do say so myself. It is 40 pages long and fully illustrated. I used Adobe Photoshop CS to draw and color each illustration with an Intuos3 Wacom tablet. Super high-tech, I know. ;)

 After finishing the illustrations and getting each page organized for printing in Adobe Photoshop CS, I went and had it printed and bound at the local OfficeMax--definitely not my choice for future printings, but it worked for the time being. After all, I needed a physical copy (and quick!) in order to complete the second part of the project: interact with the world. Luckily, a fellow classmate had introduced me to the principal of a local elementary school here in Flagstaff, AZ, and we had been in contact for about a month, setting up a date to visit the school and read to the students there. Just yesterday, Molly and I were able to do just that. However, we were able to read our story to, not one, but three Kindergarten classes--around 50 children total. We asked them questions and talked to them about animals and about being kind. It was a beautiful experience.

In other words, TOTAL SUCCESS. Depending on many factors, I may try and publish the book. We'll see how far it goes. I am currently taking two American Literature classes back-to-back this semester, both taught by the same, incredible American Literature professor. Anyway, she has expressed interest in helping me publish the book. I swear that I have an academic crush on this woman. She's intelligent, hilarious, and inspiring; I've never been so encouraged by a professional before in my life. The fact that she's urging me to try and publish makes me feel so validated as a writer and partially as an illustrator. Ahhhhh! I'm not worthy.

For some other huge news unrelated to me personally: yesterday, one of my closest friends since high school was offered representation by a literary agency for a quirky, adorable middle grade series of novels she has written! I'm completely ecstatic for her. Apparently the agent has requested a couple revisions in her manuscript, and I offered to help her polish it up a bit! I hope I can help in some way.

In addition, her success has encouraged me to devote my entire summer to getting Boot Hill written out. Even if it's rough. I want to follow my dreams of being a published novelist too, and the only way to do it is to write it. No agent is going to see a story that isn't even written.

I, M WEAVER, HEREBY PLEDGE TO DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO HAVE THE FIRST BOOK OF BOOT HILL FINISHED BY SEPTEMBER 1, 2012.