Friday, March 11, 2016

Tips on Craft, Critiques, & Agent 101 by Kathy Halsey

I sprang into March with many recent webinars, meet-ups, and SCBWI events and I'm sharing them with GROG readers today. Here's to springing forward and new growth for us all!


Taking Writing to the Next Level

YA writer Emery Lord, author of OPEN ROAD SUMMER and THE START OF ME AND YOU, shared her thoughts at a recent Central Ohio SCBWI meet-up. More about Emery here.

1. That old adage, "show not tell" can be broken, especially in longer works. A writer should think WHEN to show and WHEN to tell.  Think - what's the intention of doing so purposefully.
2. When creating character depth, imagine your main character's parents and family. They are the central part of a child's identity, even in YA. 
3. Create/free associate a vocabulary list of your main character that includes his/her set of references. Emery's example: if your protagonist is religious the list might include "holy," "communion,"  "dove," "olive branch." Pull from this list for analogies, metaphors,  figurative language to set the tone of the book.

Being a Good Critique Partner

In a recent KidLIt College webinar with Heather Alexander, Pippin Properties, the emphasis was on big picture issues. Avoid line edits. Heather shared house renovation analogies. Don't change the "wallpaper," when the "blueprint" is lacking. 
1. Look at character arc for growth/change in character, flat characters, characters to whom kids will relate.
2. Motivation is the motor of the story. Can you find the core emotion that moves your character forward? Drill down and keep asking "WHY?"
3. The narrative arc is impossible to untangle from from character. All stories must have exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and a resolution. In a critique, all these elements need to be examined.
Photo by Juliana Lee
Agent 101- Vicky Selvaggio

Vicky Selvaggio, Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, pulled back the curtain on how she acquires clients to a packed house in Columbus, via Central Ohio SCBWI.
1. Know your communication style/needs and that of your perspective agent. Vicky emphasizes that this partnership IS a relationship.
2. Vicky says her job is to push, encourage, support her clients. Clients have a job, too. Read voraciously in your genre, make connections with editors at conference and pass that info on to your agent. Be open-minded with revisions.
3. Both agents and client should keep submission logs. SCBWI, THE BOOK has a great template in the back. You should know where your work is, who has it, and eventually receive feedback on your work. 
4. Realize that good agents put their current clients' needs first (red flag if they don't), so response to your query may take more time than you'd like.

Hope you've found a few tips that puts the spring back in your step. If you'd like to share a tip from a recent webinar/class/event you've taken recently, add it to the comments section. SPRING FORWARD!












26 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing all you've learned from these recent events, Kathy!

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    1. Hi, Tina.Sharing is caring and helping the whole community! TY for reading & commenting.

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  2. Appreciating these nourishing tips Kathy. Thanksabunch!

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  3. great notes - thanks for sharing!

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    1. Sue, I love your blog and will be sharing it at the Virginia Hamilton Confernece!

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  4. Super Kathy! We are so fortunate that there are so many opportunities to learn, but it is hard to get to all of them! Well done.

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    1. Yup, we gotta share our takeaways, Cathy.

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  5. Replies
    1. TY, Maria, for coming over to the GROG.

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  6. Thanks for the tips and information, Kathy!

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  7. Thank you, Kathy, for helping us spring ahead with great tips and inspiration. I recently attended a webinar and I walked away with many good tidbits to push my writing. One of them struck home: "You are painting a picture for the editor." Be on the shoulder of your character and see what they see. Happy writing everyone! Happy Spring!

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    1. Happy Spring to YOU, dear Charlotte.

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  8. Another informative post, Kathy. You are doing your writing due diligence!

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  9. Great info here, Kathy! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Love sharing with friends like you, Jane.

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  10. Thanks for the info, Kathy. Sorry I wasn't able to go to Vicky's presentation.

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  11. Great round-up, Kathy! Sounds like you've been busy.

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    1. Yes, Jilanne. And now it's time for BIC!

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  12. Great advice that you've gathered, Kathy. Thanks for sharing it all with us. :)

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  13. Kathy, good info. Thanks for the tips and happy writing.

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