Happy Tuesday, everyone, and happy holiday season!
Wow. December 4th already, where has the time gone? And double wow, it’s been a while since I’ve last posted. My apologies. This year has been quite challenging, but now that things are (somewhat) settling down, I hope to be more consistent. And since we have some catching up to do, my darling fellow blogger Susan is here to help!
LAURA: You there, Susan?
SUSAN: You bet, Laura.
LAURA: Awesome. And aw, cute sweater! 🙂 Whatcha want to talk about first?
SUSAN: Other than the great sale I got this sweater at, I definitely choose your fabulous ABC Event in October!
ABC EVENT: The Beauty of Reinvention by Laura Bowers
LAURA: First off, thank you to everyone who came despite the fact that Hurricane Sandy was barreling toward us! I truly appreciated it. 🙂 And ha, doesn’t it look like I’m thinking, “What the heck am I going to talk about,” as our lovely co-RA, Edie Hemingway introduced me?
SUSAN: She hit her stride quickly, though. Laura told us about her love for books as a child and her early attempts at writing. Despite that, by the time Laura was in high school, she never thought it was possible that someone like her could be a writer – even though she earned an A+ in Creative Writing.
Laura then and now.
Sadly that misconception followed her into adulthood. Thankfully, Laura finally saw the light at age 29 and decided to pursue her lifelong dream. She also told us of her evolution as a writer, which included taking a stab at picture books, finding her literary home in the young adult genre, and understanding what it means to love your characters and their stories. This finally led to the publication of her first novel BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT, INQUIRE WITHIN.
The self-designed cover of her attempt at writing a picture book.
LAURA: Before getting into the craft portion of my presentation, I thought it would be fun to rev up everyone’s creative mojo by doing a writing exercise.
Now, I have to admit … whenever a presenter asks me to do a writing exercise, my first reaction is to inwardly groan and say, “Seriously, do I have to?” So I was worried about folks losing interest and wishing they were at Wal-Mart buying batteries for the storm when I gave this writing assignment:
Think of your favorite fairy tale that ends with two people falling in love. Now go beyond the story’s ending and write a “Dear John” letter from one of them telling the other why they can’t be together anymore.
A few people shifted in their seats … yes, you did! Don’t deny it! … But afterwards, many brave souls read their letters out loud and they were HILARIOUS! Great stuff was shared, very bitter accounts of how Rapunzel has grown tired of the prince’s obsession with long hair and why the Princess will no longer tolerate her new mother-in-law’s continual Pea tests. In fact, Susan and I were so pleased with the results that we’re going to soon start weekly writing exercises here on the blog, right, Susan?
SUSAN: Right-o, Laura. We’ve got some great exercises up our sleeves. I can’t wait to see what they produce!
After those great turns at fracturing fairytales, Laura went into a discussion of her own personal setbacks, roadblocks, and slumps that have hurt her writing career. She also shared how her mistakes caused her to have a five-year gap between book sales.
LAURA: After sharing my past glooms and dooms, I thought it would be good to switch back to positive by having everyone do … yes, cue the groans! … another writing exercise! Explaining it would take too long, but let me say that after Edie Hemingway shared what she wrote, everyone in the room was totally floored. It was fantastic!
Seriously, Edie. You are going to turn that into a book, right? Right?
SUSAN: You better, Edie!
After that, Laura discussed the many tools, techniques, and mental strategies that she uses as a writer. She then elaborated on what she did to get past the slumps, roadblocks and set-backs in order to sell another book and reinvent herself on a daily basis. After that, Laura shared traits and quotes from several other popular young adult writers. Look for those in a future post!
LAURA: By the way, there were several times during my presentation where I’d promise to post links on the blog or I would stare blankly at Susan and say, “Remember that website I told you about last week? What was it?” Well, here they are:
The Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson. One of my favorite plotting tools!
The Plot Whisperer, Martha Alderson. By the way, in December, she’s hosting the 5th annual PlotWriMo, Plot Writing Month. How did I not know about this??? And be sure to check out her videos on YouTube. They’re fantastic!
Tutorials – Channel 101 Wiki, where screenwriter Dan Harmon gives six simple and invaluable tutorials on story structure.
And finally, here’s the list of Ten Tips for New Writers that lists my favorite writing how-to books. 🙂
Thanks, Edie, for putting on another great ABC Event!
OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS, UPCOMING EVENTS, AND CHIT-CHAT
~ So, now that November is over, another season of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month,) and PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month,) is behind us, would anyone like to share their results? Did anyone complete an entire novel or fill a notebook with thirty picture book ideas? If so, please let us know so we can give you a mighty huge woo-HOO!
~ Also, did you know that March is National Novel Editing Month? To complete this, you’re to spend at least 50 hours editing a 50,000 novel.
[LAURA: Hmm, I’ll have to look into this since one of my 2013 goals will be to complete NaNoWriMo, PiBoIdMo, and anything else that ends in Mo. 🙂
SUSAN: My sights are on the NaNoEdMo…I have one that needs another makeover and hope to have a first draft of another done before then. Besides, I’m one of those sickos that just love to edit!]
~ Speaking of March, mark your calendars for the 20th Anniversary Celebration for our region, combined with our Annual Spring Conference to be held on March 23, 2013 at the The Bishop Claggett Center in Buckeystown, MD featuring author T. A. Barron and Caldecott award-winning illustrator, Paul O. Zelinski! Other presenters will be SCBWI Co-Founder and author, Stephen Mooser; Literary Agents Ammi-Joan Paquette and Elena Mechlin; and Editors Jill Santopolo of Philomel/Penguin and Sylvie Frank of Holiday House. More details will be coming soon!
~ And don’t forget about May Mid-Grade Madness, where we push the insanity envelope and write a middle-grade novel in 72 hours. We promise to give you all earlier notice than last time.
Happy writing and drawing, everyone! 🙂