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May's Meeting

Writing for Specialized Markets
Nancy Jean Okunami

click here for more information about this program. . .

May 6 , 2004
(Click here for directions to the Williamson County Maintenance Center)

The San Gabriel Writers' League
presents the 2004
Writing Smarter Spring Workshop
to be held April 24, 2004
at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX
for more information . . .

May's newsletter is now available in
PDF format.

(click on the "e-newsletter" link)

May's Meeting

May 6, 2004

Writing for Specialized Markets
Nancy Jean Okunami

Writers who dream of creating a picture book for children really have a nightmare in mind unless they thoroughly research the requirements for writing children’s books. Nancy Jean Okunami speaks on “Dissecting Dr. Seuss” for the May 6 program of San Gabriel Writers’ League. She will explore the labyrinth linking a would-be writer of children’s books to a successful career in that genre. All writers follow a similar path, but each genre demands a slightly different protocol, so the program will be useful for writers of all kinds.

Ms. Okunami writes “tall-tale middle-grade fiction,” that is, novels that interest ages 8 to 12. She also conducts writing classes for teens at the Cedar Park Library one Saturday a month, attracting about 25 kids.

“Writing for children involves a long and difficult process of learning what children want to read rather than what adults want to write for children, or what adults think children should be reading,” says Ms. Okunami. In making a transition from other types of writing to the specialty of children’s books, she sought the guidance of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is Assistant Regional Advisor for the Austin Chapter of SCBWI. The organization provides a network of like-minded people to help move writers from stage to stage, “starting where they are and moving them toward where they want to go.”

SCBWI counts 250 members in the Austin area in one of five chapters in Texas with 18,000 members internationally. The organization offers conferences and retreats for writers to help each other learn the craft of writing and to exchange experiences in planning, writing, and marketing. They also meet editors and agents to learn about publishing opportunities. “Writers help each other through the long, difficult, and highly competitive process for moving from idea to publication,” says Ms. Okunami.

Although the program will focus on writing for children, the concepts to be explored are relevant to writers of other genres who must follow a parallel road on the journey traveled from learning the craft of writing into the business of marketing the finished work. For more information, look on the Internet for or email

When: Thursday, May 6, 2004
Where: Williamson County Maintenance Center
Georgetown, Texas

7:00 – 7:30 Arrival & Social Time
8:30 PM Business Meeting

Programs are open to the public at no charge.

Not a member? Here’s your chance to join us and learn more about SGWL!


Quotation of the month

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them."
- Mark Twain (1835-1910)


2003 Writing Smart Contest Winners

Writing for Children

1st - "The Gift" by Evelyn Dunbar Webb, Lynchburg, VA
2nd - "A Tree House in Jericho" by Bill Peel, Georgetown, TX
3rd - "The Five Thousand Friends of Veronica Veetch" by Jean Hanson, Ft. Collins, CO
First Honorable Mention - "Umbrella Town" by Marcia Bennett, Wimberley, TX
Second Honorable Mention - "Box" by Jane Medina, Orange, CA

Short Fiction

1st - "The Sound and the Fury" by Lytton Gilliland, Round Rock, TX
2nd - "The Rejection" by Patsy Stagner, Cedar Hill, TX
3rd - "The Starbuck's Beauty War" by Stewart Smith, San Antonio, TX
First Honorable Mention - "My Crysta" by Kim Kronzer O'Brien, Austin, TX
Second Honorable Mention - "Don't Tell Mama" by Charles McMillen, Richland Hills, TX


1st - Introducing Misery by Judith Skelton, Conroe, TX
2nd - Devil's Quarry by Alexandra Bassett, Citrus Heights, CA
3rd - Hanna's Promise by Linda Carroll-Bradd, San Antonio, TX
First Honorable Mention - Stormy's World by Kim Kronzer O'Brien, Austin, TX
Second Honorable Mention - Discovering Yesterday by Julianne M. Anderson, Austin, TX


1st - "The Stuff They Feed Us" by Kelly Ellis, Houston, TX
2nd - "The Breeze" by V. Kay Vaccaro, Houston, TX
3rd - "Departing Daughter" by Nick Sweet, Leander, TX
First Honorable Mention - "Poetry Remains" by Kelly Ellis, Houston, TX
Second Honorable Mention - "While She Slept" by Nick Sweet, Leander, TX

Nonfiction Book

1st - Tumbleweed Kid by William Roger Holman, Austin, TX
2nd - The Mother-in-Law Advice of the Month by Linda Bonner, Round Rock, TX
3rd - Dear Visitor, Oral Histories from the McDonald Observatory by Karen Stewart Winget, Round
Rock, TX

Short Nonfiction

1st - "Weekend Warrior" by Pauline Hoehn, Round Rock, TX
2nd - "Stall Warning" by Roy A. Henley, Marble Falls, TX
3rd - "The Ninth Life for Gray Boy" by Betty Fullerton Sandefur, Georgetown, TX
First Honorable Mention - "Mom's Chair" by Alison Dellenbaugh, Cedar Park, TX
Second Honorable Mention - "Healing Moments of Laughter" by Mike Wright, Georgetown, TX

Best of Contest for Excellence in Writing: Kelly Ellis, Houston, TX



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