The Quotable Nerdy Chick(s): NESCBWI Conference edition

This week, the Nerdy Chicks would like to share a special Quotable Nerdy Chick feature: quotes from NESCBWI13. There were too many great quotes for a completely comprehensive list,  but here are a few highlights:

“I hope each of you will recognize the person sitting next to you right now as a new colleague and friend. That’s how it all begins. That’s what makes the journey great, no matter how long it is.” Jo Knowles, winner of the 2012 Crystal Kite Award for PEARL.

“It’s a matter of discovering what is already in you–finding the words for those things.” Sharon Creech

“If your work is as true to yourself as possible, then you’ve created something no one else in the world can.” Grace Lin

“You are the only thing holding you back when it comes to taking a risk.” Janet Doucette and Pegi Deitz Shea

“I have a hot tub.” ANONYMOUS (can you guess who???)

Memories of New England

The Nerdy Chicks are back in our normal nests! The New England SCBWI conference was AWESOME, and we will have lots of notes and thoughts coming in the next days and weeks. But for now…PICTURES!

The view from the Nerdy Chicks' room

The view from the Nerdy Chicks’ room

The incomparable Mona Pease and Valarie Giogas

The incomparable Mona Pease and Valarie Giogas

What? What did I do?

What? What did I do?

Apocalypsies together -- Kami, A.C. Gaughen and Hilary Weisman Graham

Apocalypsies together — Kami, A.C. Gaughen and Hilary Weisman Graham

The fabulous Andy Smith

The fabulous Andy Smith

The lovely Alison Ashley Formento

The lovely Alison Ashley Formento

Kami's awesome Character workshop

Kami’s awesome Character workshop

Thanks to Joyce Johnson for running a great conference!

Thanks to Joyce Johnson for running a great conference!

Sudipta's Series Book workshop

Sudipta’s Series Book workshop


Kami hates this pic but Sudipta loves it...

Kami hates this pic but Sudipta loves it…


Funny Chicks

Today I am blogging from gorgeous Springfield Massachucettes while attending the NE SCBWI conference. Later today, I’ll be doing a presentation on writing humor. In preparing for this, I asked some very talented writers of humor for children where they find inspiration.  I thought I’d share their answers with all of you because everyone loves to laugh, even if you don’t love to write. Check out these funny books, TV shows, authors, and movies next time you need a chuckle! (And if you do love to write, scroll down to the bottom of the screen to see details about the Funny Prize offered by Greenhouse Literary!)

Where do authors find inspiration for humor?????

 Robin Mellom: Modern Family, Parks & Recreation, Awkward, and any movie by John Hughes.

Martha Brockenbrough: When I was a kid, I loved Steve Martin’s comedy routines and movies. In high school, I loved “The Princess Bride.” Christopher Guest movies crack me up. I think George Takei is a genius. Joss Whedon also writes incredibly sharp, character-driven humor.

Colleen Clayton: Some of the books that I can read over and over purely because they make me laugh are A Confederacy of Dunces by John KennedyToole and then anything by Jean Shepherd, Garrison Keillor, and Dave Sedaris. I recently read Bossypants by Tina Fey and was in tears from laughing. I love crass humor…movies like Bridesmaids and The Other Guys andTV shows like Shameless and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It’s really, really hard to offend me. I’ll go along with just about anything as long as it’s written and/or performed well.

Joanne Levy: I adore great comedic actors like Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey, Christine Baranski who illustrate how to bring characters to life. They are multi-talented at playing straight roles, but can pull out the funny in such an effortless way, that I’m in awe of their talents. Incidentally, three of these actors are in Bowfinger, one of my favorite movies of all time.

The funniest book I’ve ever read was Christopher Moore’s LAMB. It taught me that a very serious (and controversial) topic can be handled with wonderful (and even sometimes ridiculous) humor respectfully and without diminishing the seriousness of the subject matter. This was a light bulb moment for me and made me realize that humor could play a big role in serious writing and wouldn’t make the work of any less value.

Lizzy Foley: Internet news/blogs.  There are some wonderful writers who can report on the realities world while making snarky observations at the same time.  It’s not unlike what The Daily Show or The Colbert Report does on television, except for the fact that the entire joke is in written form and can’t use comedic delivery as a crutch.

Kimberly Sabatini: I am a huge fan of dry humor. One of my favorite humorous books is A WALK IN THE WOODS by Bill Bryson. Because this book is so stinkin’ funny, it is the book I’ve reread the most. I’m also a big fan of a well-done mix of humor and emotional gut punches. I think Gary Paulsen captured this perfectly with HARRIS AND ME. And THE WEDNESDAY WARS and OKAY FOR NOW by Gary Schmidt blow me away.

 Kami Kinard: Funny Children’s Books: Captain Underpants, The Origami Yoda books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I love Carl Hiassen’s adult novels. I’m still a big fan of M*A*S*H, Keeping Up Appearances, Boston Legal (it really was funny), Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and Joel Stein’s irreverent columns in TIME.


The Greenhouse Literary Funny Prize: Greenhouse Literary Agency does not see enough funny manuscripts, so last year they started a contest to encourage more humorous submissions. The winner of the contest ended up with a four book deal… that’s a good sign! Go to their website for full details, but if you want to know what they’re looking for, here’s a description:

“Our judging criteria is very simple. Funny, and we are wide open to all ages. The winner may be a picture book like OLIVIA or DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS, or a young series à la HORRID HENRY, FLAT STANLEY, THE GREAT HAMSTER MASSACRE or UNDEAD PETS, or for 8-12 year olds like Lemony Snicket or M.T. Anderson’s WHALES ON STILTS. It could even be for teen readers, like Adam Rex’s COLD CEREAL series, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, or THE PRINCESS DIARIES. It’s going to be the person with funny in their DNA. Perhaps the winner will have a slow-burning, sly wit. Perhaps a Python-esque sense of the absurd, or zany as Tina Fey’s 30 ROCK. Or maybe the concept, the freshness and fun, will pull us in.”

Finally, if you are a writer looking to hone your humor skills, you might check out one of these books. Comedy Writing Secrets focuses on techniques and includes a lot of tips for stand-up comedy.  How to Write Funny includes essays from famous humor writers like Dave Barry.  Click on the books to link to purchasing info!

If you attended the Humor Cells workshop, check back here next week for a synopsis of the workshop content and “Advice from the Pros.”

comedy writing

humor book write funny

The Nerdy Chicks go on a ROAD TRIP!

Hello, everyone!

It is a very special weekend. Not only are the Nerdy Chicks together at last, we are on a ROAD TRIP to the New England SCBWI conference where we will be nerdily speaking on all sorts of brainy topics. Stay tuned for more updates from the road!


Here we are ready to go!


That’s definitely luggage for chicks!


Our favorite GWB!


We're still not sure how much this is gonna cost...