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!