Second--Dude. What happened to Blogger? I hate it when sites I use and am used to change layout and look. I get confused. *sigh*
Okay, down to business. Here are a few nuggets from the SCBWI FL Mid-Year Workshop. I attended the Novel Intensive and the YA track, so my tidbits are all from Marjetta Geerling, Kathleen Duey, and Michele Burke (editor at Knopf BFYR).
- Filter everything through your character. -KD
- An editor can take a MS that's 70% of the way there and take it the rest of the way. Editors can help you make your book better, but they can't do everything. -MB
- Voice is innate. -MB
- The reader shouldn't need to be told what the character is feeling--they should feel it with the character. -MB
- After voice, setting is the #2 reason MB will put a MS down. Readers need something familiar to cling to--a seed of familiarity. -MB
- Don't throw the reader into the middle of the action at the expense of clarity. -MB
- Don't be deliberately mysterious and vague. -MB
- Be invitingly different and comfortably familiar. Ground the reader in the familiar. -MB
- You have to hook the reader right away, but there are 8 million kinds of bait. -KD
- You need a striking and engaging beginning, but not action. - KD
- Setting should do at least two things, and it's better if it's three or four. -MG (Not just establishing time/location/etc, but can add to characterization, pacing, mood, etc.)
- Try to build your venue with an eyedropper, not a shovel. -KD
- When revising, print out your story and read it without a pencil so you turn off your writer brain and turn on your reader brain. -KD
Finally, Marjetta did a mini-presentation based on research she did in her MFA program. It had to do with using a character's world-view and experiences to create unique language for that character (voice). It was a really fantastic presentation. Kathleen even talked about how awesome it was and that it wasn't something she'd thought of before.
Anyway, if you or someone you know is in charge of speakers for a writing group/conference, you should look into bringing Marjetta in. She is fantastic.
So, which piece of advice above speaks to you the most?