She delivered a marvelous keynote speech Saturday morning on why she writes about terrible things.
In the first workshop session, I taught a class on the nuts and bolts of publishing. I always determine the success of a class based on whether I had a good time or not. This one was a blast. The room was full of dry-sponge, newbie writers ready to soak up every bit of information they could. Fun!
During the second session, I attended Vicky Alvear Shecter's class on using your nonfiction research to write historical fiction. She did a wonderful job using the research on Cleopatra into Cleopatra's Moon as examples. Some tips from Vicky that stood out:
|Vicky was the Crystal Kite Award Winner for the Southern Region.|
- You need a clear bad guy from the very opening! What specific person has power over that kid that is beyond manageable. If you can’t write about it in the opening, at least hint at it.
- Make sure it could have happened that way. Be ready to defend the choices you have made.
- Never assume on details.
Julie Hamm's (associate editor at Charlesbridge) workshop was a double session after lunch. Charlesbridge publishes 60% nonfiction/40% fiction. Julie read paragraphs from each of the Siebert award winners since 2002 when the award began. We plotted them on a graph from traditional/safe to expressive/edgy. As you might expect, the winners from the last three or four years leaned farther to the expressive/edgy side of the graph.
Tips from Julie:
- Read all applicable literature on your subject matter.
- Revise from multiple perspectives.
- Highlight each adjective and verb in your piece, then replace any that feel a bit weak and tweak for a sense of immediacy.
- Hone in on the elements that most excite you. Bring those facts/events to a surprising light.
There were other workshops that I missed with Marietta Zacker, Agent with Nancy Gallt Literary Agency, Leila Sales, associate editor at Viking Children's Books, and Kevin Lewis, author/illustrator and executive editor at Disney/Hyperion. But you can only do what you can do. That's my new motto.
All in all, it was a wonderful, exhausting weekend!