Words of Wisdom (from the mentors)
Each mentor shared an amazing presentation. From our copious notes we've distilled a single shining sentence from each ...
(editor, Christy Ottaviano Books) offered practical pointers on optimizing symbolism and plot devices, and weaving them organically into your writing.
❤ "Your opening pages will be more powerful and resonant if they include a nod to your most significant symbol or plot device."
Alex Aceves (author, associate editor, Holiday House) explained how to create compelling characters that readers will feel a connection to.
❤ "Deploy character flaws strategically: readers don't connect with a perfect character, so write a protagonist whose flaws make us care about them and their success."
❤ "Bring a fresh perspective to a universal theme, and make your work accurate and authentic."
|Abby Mumford & Brent Taylor (Photo, Mary Cronin)|
Brent Taylor (agent, Triada US) broke down the business of children's books. Even the seasoned authors learned a thing or three. (Territories: World, World English, North American)
❤ Books like Prince & Knight "would have meant the world" to Brent as a kid. Brent believes territory is just as important to negotiate as royalties."
Chris Krones (editor, Clarion Books) energized us to knock the socks off writer's block. They suggested going to the bookstore for inspiration and what gaps your book could fill.
❤ For Chris, "interest in the Merriam-Webster Word of the Year. 'they,' and creating a simple list, led to The Pronoun Book. Create lists, look for simple yet compelling concepts.
Applying the Lessons
We applied mentors' suggested writing exercises and pointers to make fresh improvements to our WIPs. A couple of examples:
Chris: I used Jessica's insights into symbols and structure to review a picture book manuscript word by word, working to instill visual and other sensory expressions of my major theme. I think it's better!
Kathy: Thanks to Sera's writing exercise, I changed a problematic setting in my picture book manuscript which enabled me ramp up the conflict.
Parting Thoughts: Top Tips for Writing Workshops
We're each sharing a single top tip for workshop and conference-going. (What? Are they contradictory??) We also include a couple of pointers from other attendees -- because WPWR is all about learning from one another!
Chris: My top tip is: Say yes! Even if your first reaction is that you don't want to play the silly picking-up-dice-with-cups-on-your-hands game with these people you just met ... just say yes. You'll (probably) be glad you did.
|Sally is game! photo by Charlotte Sheer|
Kathy: My top tip is: Say no! Know when you've reached your limit socially or mentally. Take a break. Nap, walk in nature, write in private and come back refreshed.
Laura Renauld: Step outside your comfort zone and be receptive to new ideas. That's what it's all about!
Connie Smith: Ask questions. If you don't understand what a presenter is saying, ask for an explanation ... and if you forget other people's names, just keep asking!
|Books by WPWR attendees (photo, Nancy Tupper Ling)|
Is it time to break your pandemic-era isolation and congregate again? Thinking of brushing off your Lucky Scarf and signing up for a workshop or conference soon?
If you're looking for a little help getting back into the swing of things, check out these GROG posts from the archives:
Leave a comment below about your favorite book gatherings.
And good luck out there!