Monday, January 26, 2009


I don't know about you (really, I don't), but I liked the old Jeopardy! better. Back when it had easy to understand categories like "Sports" and "Movies" and "Food." Somewhere along the line, Jeopardy's writers must have decided that coming up with "Before and After" clues ("What is Paul Michael Murphy Brown?") was no longer the challenge it used to be, because they started getting a little too clever with their categories. So much so that Alex now has to waste precious seconds explaining that "Taken For Granite" is a category in which every response will be the name of a rock. I'm confused before the first question--er, answer--is even asked--er, stated.

However, even with those simple categories of yesteryear, there was still one that always threw me for a loop---"Potpourri." To my twelve year old self, potpourri was the smelly, leafy stuff Mom had in the bathroom which mingled fragrantly with Dad's digestive leavings to create a rather unpleasant aroma. Why would they have a category about that? And why did the questions (answers) seemingly have nothing in common?

Imagine my surprise when I found out that potpourri is synonymous with "Grab Bag" and "Hodgepodge." Those wacky Jeopardy! writers...

All of which is a very convoluted way of introducing this post about a little bit of everything. (And couldn't Jeopardy! have just called it that?)

Business first--The first annual "Say What" Contest is officially over and I must say it was a spectacular success. (Not that you would expect anything less from an award-winning blogger.) Not only did I get a fair number of entries, it drove massive traffic to the blog (traffic which has since disappeared). I even received some decent entries. I will pick a winner later this week, and Ben has given me permission to autograph the prize in his stead.*

Second--You will note over there ------> that I am almost ready to send out my first baby. The middle grade is just about ready to go. I'll be working on the query letter over the next couple of weeks, so wish me luck. You might also wish me a person who is really good at writing query letters. Jill has previously offered her services and, if you're out there Jill, let me know if the offer still stands. Anyone else who wants a looksie (did I just write that?), let me know.

Third--The ALA Awards. My performance was mixed. I did horribly with the Caldecott, but I don't feel too bad about it because I was basically regurgitating what I had read at Verla's. In other words, not my fault. I haven't read The Graveyard Book, which won the Newbery, so I can't say if I think it deserved it or not. I was right about Savvy and The Underneath, though. And Waiting For Normal did win a different award. My best showing was probably the Printz. Although some book no one has ever heard of won, Octavian Nothing was honored, as was Nation and Frankie-Landau Banks.

Question for my rabid devotees: If you were going to create an award for children's writing, what would you call it and what would it reward?

*Possibly a fabrication.

Your Twilight Quote of the Day:

"Why are you doing this to me?"

--Edward, Breaking Dawn, p.102


Big Plain V said...

Dunno what kind of award I'd make up. I'll take a couple Newberys to go, though.

(Hit me up when you're ready to have your query looked at, my email's in my profile.)

Katie Darby said...

:) Thanks for entering the contest! I've been enjoying your blog since Ben posted about your contest last week. It's good to read so many YA writers who keep consistantly interesting blogs. (That's what I want to do when I grow up, haha. Not that I'm like, 23 already, but still.)

Kelly said...

I will take any book award, thank you!

Lily Cate said...

Congrats on the successful contest, best of luck with the MS, and I just finished reading The Graveyard Book last night.
My initial reaction is underwhelming.
An enjoyable book, but I wonder if the ALA is responding to the comments that they pick too many obscure books by going with a more prominent author.
Maybe not.

Jill Corcoran said...

Congrats for finishing your MG, Paul.
OK, bring on the query.

Marcia said...

Way back in the day, Jeopardy also had a category called "Potent Potables." Today, Alex would likely explain what that means. The guy before Alex didn't.

I like your blog!