Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Coming NEXT WEEK to a Library and Bookstore Near You!

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure
A Progressive Story Game Played by
20 Celebrated Authors and Illustrators

It all starts with a train rushing through the night. . . . Well, actually, it starts when Jon Scieszka, former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, writes a cliff-hanger episode and passes it on to the next member of a cast of celebrated writers and illustrators, who continues the story and passes it on.
A collaboration between the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure originated as a national literacy outreach project for young people and helped launch the website.
What Do Contributors Say About Their Experiences Writing and Illustrating The Exquisite Corpse?
On writing the first episode, Jon Scieszka, says, "My challenge was to seed that first chapter with enough weird details for all the crazy writers following me. That turned out to be the fun part. The harder part was trying to set up a plot that would be strong enough to stand up to all the crazy writers."

Megan McDonald addresses the challenge, "Phew! I would have to say keeping all the previous story threads together-beast and babies, bombs, bridges, birthday cards-Yikes! That's a lot of hot potatoes to keep in the air (to pick up on M. T. Anderson's image [of what it's like to write an exquisite corpse]). Figuring out how to move the existing story forward, yet contributing something different and unique at the same time. (Yes, I'm one who split up the twins and made them go in two different directions...). But hey, I loved the Telephone Games as a kid..."

Susan Cooper says, "I suppose the most challenging aspect was the one that was also the most fun - the fact of having absolutely no control over what happened to the characters before the start of my episode, or after it. The second time around was even more fun than the first, because so much outrageous stuff had happened to them in between. And the second time offered extra challenges because I felt I should go back to Jon S's (Scieszka) list of forthcoming events and characters mentioned in his first episode and try to pick up some that we hadn't yet dealt with. The whole thing was a blast, and I hope it's been enjoyable to read - though it does probably prove that a truly coherent novel is best written by a single author."

On illustrating for The Exquisite CorpseChris Van Dusen explains, "With each illustration, I try to intrigue the reader by showing an event from that episode, something that will entice them to read the story. The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is an interesting mix of humor, mystery, and sometimes even horror, so I try to convey the mood of the episode in the picture as well. What I find challenging is keeping the artwork consistent. When I work on one of my own books, I make sure the characters and settings look the same throughout the book. But when you're working with three other illustrators, keeping things consistent is almost impossible, so I've decided to let that go."

Available from Candlewick Press
in hardcover, paperback, and audio formats August, 23.  
CLICK HERE to Pre-Order!

Learn more about this innovative project and discover a wealth of coordinating activities and resources on the NCBLA's Exquisite Corpse Adventure Education Resource Center.