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Friday, February 4, 2011

Words From A Newbery Medalist

During the recent SCBWI Conference in New York, Linda Sue Park gave a keynote speech that I wish I could have heard. Ms. Park won the Newbery in 2002 for A Single Shard (which I read a few weeks ago and loved…if you haven't already, please read it!). I first discovered her while reading Project Mulberry, one of the most refreshing contemporary MG books I’ve read in a long time (it includes clever conversations between the author and protagonist that put a big smile on my face).

Though I couldn’t attend the conference, once again I turned to Twitter to live vicariously through others. And you know what? I gathered more than a few gems from those who passed on the wise words of a wonderful writer. Without further ado, I present some of the Linda Sue Park quotes that were passed along to the public:

*You never love a book the way you do as a child.
* Our attention to craft today matters more than ever, and it matters to young readers.
*Books are just about the only place left where young people can encounter written language with the luxury of time.
*To write in a strong voice, you need to have a keen awareness of the rhythm of the words.
*Voice is word choice for meaning and nuance and sound, word order for structure and rhythm.
*Voice is the best words in the best order to serve the story.
*If you want to get good at writing, you have to put in the time training, which is reading.
* If you read enough good books, you begin to build a mental standard.
*How long does anyone spend becoming a professional? Writers must invest a lot of time in training.
*Don't believe in yourself. Believe in the work.
*What matters is the doing. What matters is the work.
* It's hardest in the place where you have a desire to do something but don't know if you can do it.
*Sometimes the writer needs to get the hell out of the way and let the story happen.
*Let the story matter more than your feelings.
*If you’re not afraid of the challenge that’s not courage; it’s a chemical malfunction in your brain.
* Courage is when you are afraid of something but do it anyway.
*I try to make every sentence I write worth reading 62 times.


-Authoress (of Miss Snark’s First Victim) posted this mysterious message on Twitter yesterday afternoon: *hem hem* Launching something BIG AND NEW AND EXCITING on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7!! STAY TUNED!!! :D. You should head over there on Monday anyway for the latest Secret Agent Contest (details HERE), but it sounds like she’s got something else to reveal too….nice use of a cliffhanger, Authoress!

-The Crusaders—Rachael Harrie is running a social networking and platform-building opportunity on her website, Rach Writes. Want to increase your blog readership, discover excellent new blogs, and meet some cool people? Head over to this blog post for details: Second Writers' Platform Crusade

Happy Friday, and have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Glad you got to have a bit of fun with the Twitter updates. That's pretty cool.

    With regards to clean sheet day, I agree, it is nice to fall into bed with clean sheets after a long day of chores. So peaceful.

    Have a great weekend, Jess. And until next time, eat well and have fun.

  2. Those are some gems! Thanks for digging it all up and sharing it with us.

  3. ooooh! so many great points! thanks jess!!!!

  4. I read A Single Shard a few years ago, and loved it...

    Fantastic quips from Ms. Park. I especially liked "courage is when you're afraid of something but do it anyway." Yes!

    Great post--thanks. I'm going to save a bunch of these for inspiration...

  5. I know, aren't they just amazing pictures!

  6. Hey Jess, welcome to the Crusade, fantastic you can join us :)



  7. Jess, you made me smile with your current life satisfaction as 9.3 out of 10. That sounds like something to be grateful for. Keep that positive attitude and thanks for sharing Linda Sue Park's words of wisdom. Good luck with your writing.

  8. Great post. Linda Sue Park's comments are gems for writers and teachers! Thank you for sharing.

  9. Sounds like a wonderful speech. My girls both read A Single Shard years ago, but I must admit I haven't read it. And you've sold me on Project Mulberry!

  10. This is great, thanks for sharing it, I like the first twitter quote you have there about never loving a book as much as you do as a child.

    And thanks for the Miss Snarks and the Crusade info, both look interesting.

  11. OMGoodness! Jess your blog sidebar is amazing! (holy organized, batman)
    The linkage alone must have taken FOREVER. Very comprehensive...and impressive. I'll be sure to send budding writers here as a one stop shop to find what they need.

    And I love Park's quotes.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  12. Stopped by to say hi to a fellow crusader.

    Loved your post until I got to the end and you mentioned brownies and now I want one, a real one :)


  13. Oh I absolutely love these quotes! She's one smart cookie, that's for sure. Thank you.

  14. Those are great bits of info. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Hi fellow crusader. You have a wonderful blog. I look forward to stopping by again.

  16. Stopped in to introduce myself as a fellow crusader:) Great tid bits! I love the one about the writer needing to get the hell out of the way and let the story happen! So true!

  17. I love Authoress! And after I leave here, I'm popping over to see what she has up her sleeve,,,this time! Hi, I'm a fellow crusader!***waves*** Nice to "virtually" meet you!
    Dare to Follow Your Heart

  18. wow! I love that you put all this together here. It is wonderful when you can read about a conference that you've missed. And thanks for the blog tips too! You are always so full of helpful information!

  19. Hi Jess, I'm a fellow crusader and I'm so glad I stopped by your blog. It looks great! I'm looking forward to visiting often! I'm a picture book writer (so far - hoping to write and MG and/or YA one of these days :)) but please stop by if you're interested!

  20. Fellow Crusader, stopping by to say Hi.
    You have so many links of resources here. I'm exited and happy that I found your blog. I write MG and YA. I'm currently focused on honing my craft.
    Linked to this profile is my book blog. But here is my writing blog: