Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SCBWI/OC Schmooze & Critique, 5/24

Thanks so much to the gang for coming out to Katie Wheeler Library in Irvine for our last schmooze until the Fall!

We had a great group dynamic--full of support, curiosity and motivation. After chatting a bit about our Agent's Day on 5/15 (and reviewing our wonderful agents: Rebecca Sherman from Writer's House, Mary Kole from Andrea Brown, Kevan Lyon from Marsal & Lyon, and Brenda Bowen from Sanford J. Greenburger & Associates,) we discussed conference expectations and the importance of using these experiences to focus on improving your craft. Sometimes, as we all know, we need to hear things a million times before they stick. Take precious workshop and conference hours to truly absorb what these experts are saying. Incorporate these elements into your work, and watch your writing bloom! Always walk out that conference door, (contact made or not) knowing that you've become a better writer.

Our round-robin critique was a wonderful success. From hilarious picture books to mysterious, young adult novels, our OC writing and editing talent shined.

Some topics of interest that emerged in our writing:

1.) Tell the story first, then weave theme in ever so lightly.
2.) Treat setting as a living and breathing character
3.) Get us into the problem/need sooner: be aware of your character arc.
4.) Brainstorm, and try writing your manuscript in various formats as writing exercises until you find the right fit.
5.) Continue with character development--watch out for emotionally distant writing.
6.) Keep tone fluid
7.) Don't waste world-building opportunities.
8.) Look for ways to broaden the market/appeal of your manuscript.
9.) Make your ordinary writing extraordinary.

On Agent's Day, we heard these words of wisdom from Mary Kole (Andrea Brown Literary Agency:) "It takes a village to raise a book."

And it's true.

I know I'm thankful for our village.

Until September (or at SCBWI Nationals in August...)

Be brave. Persistent. Relentless.

And write what makes you happy.


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