In preparation, we gather up the wonderful books we have worked on for show and tell, we make notes about our personal experiences of reading and writing and editing and working with writers, and we cast about for inspiration from others, for meaningful advice that might resonate and give aspiring writers practical tools that will help them become better writers.
And for inspiration, often this Onion returns to a blog post by Arthur A Levine. Plastic Flowers and Channelled Raisins is the text of a talk Arthur gave to writers and illustrators in Florida in 2006.
Here's a snippet.
"...people often ask me how I stay responsive to wonderful new manuscripts when I read so many every week, every day. The good news and the bad news is that the really special ones stand out as distinctly as real flowers in a shop full of plastic imitations. And it’s just like that really. The actual, living flower, has a smell. It isn’t perfect, its colors can be off a bit. But it’s REAL and you know it."Yes. Actual living flowers. With a smell. Perhaps imperfect and a little off-colour - but yes, REAL.
Arthur has a plethora of excellent advice in his talk - and it begins with the oft-quoted advice: write what you know. Take a look.* It's worth it.
*The blog posts aren't separated so you have to scroll down past the first entry to get the the Plastic Flowers and Channelled Raisins post.