SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

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I keep hearing about using Styles in Word, but haven't tried it yet. Thanks for sharing, Brian!

Like others have said, I go through the manuscript and jot down the word count from my art notes, then subtract it from the total word count. I try to keep the number of art notes low, but a few manuscripts have demanded more than usual, and it doesn't take much time to tally them up. But if you do find an easier way, please share it with us. :)

I'm wondering why you need to delete the art notes to share only the text. If it's truly needed, how will the person reading it understand what's happening?

One way to manage the story vs. notes in Word is using Styles. You can set each style to have its own specific formatting, which works best if your story & notes are always on separate lines.

You can then quickly "select all" for just one style, which gives you the word count (at the bottom "x out of Y words"). Once you have just one style selected, you can copy-paste or delete, depending on what you want to achieve.

I also heard someone on Twitter say they are working on a possible option to use with Google Docs
https://twitter.com/ChrisNantais/status/1389326712530481152


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Long before I heard about Own Voices, I heard conference faculty speak about writing the kind of story only we can tell. It took a while before I truly understood what that meant.

Lived experiences are so powerful and help us dig deeper into a story and add layers that someone who didn't have those experiences probably wouldn't have.

It took me a while to find the best way to tackle an Own Voices picture book manuscript close to my heart--with a main character who has a hearing disability. I had critiquers question having kids refuse to repeat things, saying it was so mean and they'd do it knowing she had trouble hearing. But it happens to me all the time.

What pieces of you are in your story? You mentioned you could illustrate Muppets and it wouldn't change the story...so I'm wondering if you've interviewed your characters (especially your main character). That often helps me get to know them well enough to have them fully fleshed out, even though a lot of the info is for me and doesn't show up in the manuscript.

I've seen how much groups like WNDB and BlackCreatorsInKidLit are making a difference...and love how many more diverse creators are not only getting published, but are becoming agents and editors, too. It's wonderful that you want to make sure Black people are represented. But there are ways to do that without writing books that aren't your lived experience. You can help spread the word about their books, buy their books, bid in auctions that help raise money to help their voices be heard, etc.
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: Publishing success of Blueboard-critiqued PBs
« Last post by Dj-Aj on Today at 02:01 AM »
Thank you all for your replies! I was just wondering because some posts from the Critiques board here appear to indicate that the posters intend to use only this forum before sending their work out – I felt that unwise, and I just wanted to know if anyone had ever succeeded this way.

Thank you again!
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Actually, my story doesn't mention race at all. It would only be in the illustrations.  There's nothing in the words. I could illustrate Muppets and it wouldn't change the story.  It's just a mother and a daughter. And if I follow your advice, no black heroes. It will just be white people saving the community and dominating the culture. 
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But what if that book never gets written? And the audience for a black, queer character never get to meet her?  You're asking  to erase black people or at least fictional black people. Haven't they been erased enough already?

Going back to the original post. If  the agent likes the work she should send it to publishers but voice her concern about the black character and talk to the author about changing it if the publisher asks. And then the breaking news can be about publishing conspiracies requesting authors change things to make all their characters white.

This situation, as presented, has no winners.
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Are you saying that getting this book published will push a black, queer author with a similar story out of the way? Or will it open a door for a similar story?


I wanted to mention that Nancy Paulsen addresses this in her SCBWI podcast. In a nutshell, yes, this book could absolutely take away an opportunity from a Black, queer author, in that if a publisher takes this book, and then a few months later, a terrific manuscript comes their way that is by and about a Black queer teen girl, they will have to reject the latter book because they can’t afford to create competition for themselves. This is what she sees in practice.

Her podcast is terrific and really worth listening to if you want to hear a leading publisher’s opinion on this topic.

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There's room in art for everyone and art is better when everyone participates. 

If this was historically true, we would not be having this discussion. But the number of books by black authors is still startlingly low.  It is up to us as white people to make sure there is room in art for everyone. That may mean giving others a place. That's what is happening today.

If your story is "simply a mother teaching a daughter to drive" than it does not have to be a black mother. You may not need to mention race at all. But if you don't, many readers will assume the characters are white, and that by itself speaks volumes.

MRH did state that it's just about main characters, the lens the story is told through. No one suggests you shouldn't write the real world.  Just write it from a POV you understand intimately.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the character of Black Panther around when Roddenberry introduced Lt. Uhuru. In those times, black creators weren't allowed to produce much for the mainstream market. Hopefully, we've grown since then. The Marvel Cinematic Universe allows the cast to have input into the characters, so some of what we saw in Black Panther came from the actors and others who worked on the film. (I have no idea what race each writer is.)

I commend those who paved the way for black creators to be allowed seats at the table to produce, write, and direct their own works. I'm creative enough to write my own works that do not take someone else's seat.

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Nebraska / Re: Great examples of author-illustrator websites
« Last post by chloe-burgett on Yesterday at 06:26 PM »
Fabulous illustrator and good friend:
https://www.marissavaldez.com/illustration

She shows close ups, in addition to full illustrations. Great way to stretch a small portfolio!
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: Writing software for picture books
« Last post by Debbie Vilardi on Yesterday at 06:12 PM »
I've never used it, but I wonder if Scrivener can do this.

I just add up the words by highlighting each section of text and using a calculator.

Where do you find "styles" in Word? I've never seen that.
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Nebraska / Re: Great examples of author-illustrator websites
« Last post by alison-pearce-stevens on Yesterday at 06:12 PM »
Check out Chloe's website: https://www.chloebartistry.com/
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