If you couldn’t make it to Spring Spirit this year you missed a lot—like Bruce Hale singing to us (really). Or maybe you were there but missed a few sessions because you couldn’t be in two or three places at once. (And if you CAN be in two or three places at once, call me, I have questions.) Anyway, don’t fret! We’ve got you covered. Our volunteers have written lots of summaries for your notes, or to give you a few more reasons to make sure you get there in 2017!
Writing For Children: Everything You Needed to Know (But Didn’t Know to Ask) with JaNay Brown-Wood, Gayle Pitman, Jessica Taylor, and Stephanie Garber by Jen Garrett
Imagine being taught by four fabulous authors in one sitting! That’s what happened on Friday night when JaNay Brown-Wood, Gayle Pitman, Jessica Taylor, and Stephanie Garber answered all the questions we didn’t know to ask about children’s books.
First, JaNay and Gayle explained the ins and outs of picture books using examples and tips. They showed a realistic timeline for a children’s book author and showed how perseverance often outweighs talent.
Then, Jessica and Stephanie took the floor and wowed us with their list of “Dos and Don’ts” that apply to all children’s books, but especially to middle grade and young adult.
Afterward there were a few minutes for questions, and we all walked out with more info than could possibly have fit in an hour and a half. But somehow they managed!
Creating a World in 800 Words or Less with Alexis O’Neill by Jen Garrett
Alexis O’Neill led us in an exercise of world building for picture book writers. We learned to push ourselves beyond the first 10 ideas or even the first 20, because those are likely the most common ideas. Then she helped us increase our sensory writing, cut the fat, and hook our reader with vivid verbs. “If you only revise one thing,” she told us, “revise for verbs.”
Using examples from her own books, Alexis helped us understand how literary devices can create a world. We learned about onomatopoeia, personification, rhythm and rhyme, plus many other tricks and tips for making our stories shine. After giving us this arsenal of writing tools, Alexis ended with some sage advice, “If it feels right for the story, try it out! If it doesn’t, get rid of it.”
Taxes, a working session with Christina Mercer (Author and CPA) by Angelica Jackson