Welcome to the GROG Blog, Hope Lim! It’s always a pleasure to showcase the work of picture book authors and to learn more about the craft of writing for children.
I AM A BIRD
Written by Hope Lim
Illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Candlewick, February 2, 2021
To help our GROG Blog followers learn more about you, Hope, please share five facts.
1. The ideas for my stories are drawn from real-life experiences.
2. I’m originally from South Korea.
3. I have many notebooks filled with my favorite poems and my own drawings from my childhood.
4. I like to have espresso with sparkling water.
5. I run almost every day and use it as time to reflect.
Share the inspiration behind your debut book I AM A BIRD.
The idea for I AM A BIRD started after an encounter with a stranger in Golden Gate Park. I thought she was strange at first, but I immediately recognized my perception was unfair and started to reflect on our innate fears and biases toward each other. When I came home, my husband told me about how my daughter made joyful birdcalls on their way to school on the back of his bike. I was struck by the contrast between my daughter and my simultaneous experiences. At that moment, I knew I had to write a story about exploring the fear of the unknown and combined it my daughter’s soaring spirit. That’s how I AM A BIRD was born - a story of celebrating kindred spirits discovered unexpectedly all told from a child’s perspective.
List three words to encapsulate the spirit of I AM BIRD.
1. kindred spirit
To become effective and proficient writers, students in my classes follow five-steps to write a polished/published piece of writing. Students learn skills and strategies and gain confidence through practice and revision. This third step of revision needs dedicated time to write and rewrite, redo, reconfigure, and reconsider.Writers of children’s literature understand the importance of revision, too. Writing manuscripts requires numerous revisions and edits and countless hours prior to publication.
Hope understands the importance of revision. She shares meaningful tips for the craft of revision and the process she uses to work from a draft to revision as she polishes her manuscripts preparing them for publication.
Everyone has a different revision process and technique. For me, the revision stage begins when I share my story with critique partners. They all offer different suggestions and I read them and try to see their suggestions from their perspective.
The revision process needs time, patience and a lot of re-imagination. As a writer, self-editing skills can be very helpful. Self-editing begins when I have a complete draft, no matter how rough it is. I keep rewriting until the draft loses its roughness and generates ideas for a new structure, character, or ending. After going through multiple re-writes, I stop when I feel it’s close enough to share with my critique partners. I wait at least a few days to make sure it’s ready before I solicit opinions from my CPs. I find the feedback on a polished manuscript helpful.
With early drafts, I often receive conflicting ideas on undeveloped areas, whereas polished ones tend to get similar feedback on an outstanding issue. When I receive the comments, I let them sit for a few days before applying them. I may share the revised version with them again or share it with my agent. My approach to revisions with my agent or an editor is similar. I try to look at my story from their perspectives based on their comments and start to revise only when I understand the direction they suggest.
Thank you, Hope, for sharing your thoughts and perspective about the craft of revision and how you make your stories better through time and rewriting.
These two spreads share the just right words, including onomatopoeia, that Hope created after numerous revisions. The bright and colorful illustrations by Hyewon Yon compliment the story line.
Just a few more wonderings . . . Tell us about five objects that sit on your writing desk. Perhaps some are functional and others provide inspiration.
1. A journal
2. Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
3. Piles of picture books and New Yorker Magazines
5. A glass of water and a cup of coffee
Please share a favorite literary quote.
“What is essential is invisible to the eye.” — The Little Prince
What stories are you currently hard at work writing and creating? What books should we look for in the near future?
I am currently working on several stories, some new and some old. I’m trying to find a new way to transform my old stories while slowly putting time into new ones. MY TREE by Neal Porter Books will be out in May 2021, and MOMMY’S HOMETOWN by Candlewick will be out in fall 2022.
Congratulations, Hope, on your debut book, I AM A BIRD, and two more books to follow! Thank you for sharing your success and a craft of revision tip on the GROG Blog today. Wishing you all the best as you continue to read, write, revise, edit, polish, and repeat.
Hope Lim is a children’s book author from South Korea and currently lives in San Francisco. Her debut book, I AM A BIRD, is to be released by Candlewick on February 2, 2021. Her debut will be followed by MY TREE, Neal Porter Books/Holiday House in May 2021 and MOMMY’S HOMETOWN, Candlewick, in Fall 2022. You can find Hope on Instagram @hopelim_sf, Twitter @hope_lim or hopelim.com.