Yes, I realize this isn't an author photo of me, but it's my blog, so ha! Since the YA lit industry is dominated by women, I thought I would post a photo of me with peers from the other industry in which I am trained: the male-dominated industry of illustration.
So I don't really know what to say about my manuscript. I received some very good feedback from the class, not the least of which was feedback on the climactic scene. I am going to be rewriting things accordingly, and I was very appreciative of all I learned from my workshop peers. Thanks guys!
Here's Ann today:
And her feet:
The next manuscript we critiqued was Scott Clayton's. Scott is working on a sicence fiction/fantasy YA book. Here he is:
Scott also has a lot of characters to maintain. He actually sent a submission from the interior of his book, instead of the first twenty pages, and upon request, he sent me more pages to clarify the submission we got from him. I am very interested to see how it all turns out.
Workshopping is a great experience!
When we took a break, Scott brought out his knife collection.
We had a lot of fun with those.
Then we jumped into Bethany Hank's manuscript. She is working on a very original dystopian idea. Here she is:
I can't tell you the concept, because it's too awesome. But if she can pull it off (and I think she can), it will be GREAT.
Then we worked on Taya's manuscript. She is working on a contemporary realistic YA novel, featuring characters from Hurricane, UT. Here she is:
Taya's book is actually under contract. You can read all about it here. Lovely book with wonderful characters. I'll be reviewing an ARC in a few months. Taya had very good feedback to give on every manuscript, so we were blessed to have her in class.
During the morning workshop time, I watched the clock for my appointment with John. Here he is:
I've met with John before, and I feel like he would be able to pull amazing things out of my book, so I hope I get to work with him. He gave me some very specific feedback about my manuscript. Everything he mentioned I think would serve to improve the whole book. Then he asked to read the entire manuscript once the third draft is done. Ann told me that this is good news. So I will work on those revisions and then send out the book to John. Hopefully in just a couple of weeks.
We all went out together to lunch at Zupa's:
It was fun. I sat by Amy and Jennifer.
Here is Ann's jewelry:
When we returned, we were favored with a plenary by John Cusick. At the last minute, he changed his subject from "Pacing: What to Cut, What to Keep, and What Order to Put It In" to "How to Stay Sane and Be A Writer". John is a great speaker. Here are a couple of tips from him.
On being a writer: "No one will care if you quit." This is very important to remember. You are the only one who can advocate for yourself, because to almost everyone else, your efforts as a writer are seen as a hobby. Take yourself seriously.
On writing: Think of your MC as a hero, not as an everyman. No one wants to read about a normal person. Your MC gets up again when the rest of us wouldn't be able to.
Also, EVERY MOMENT in your book should advance plot or reveal character.
Cut what's typical in the your character's life or make it part of the plot/character. We don't need a bunch of exposition to show how things normally are.
1st person dual POV (point of view) - if you can pick out a paragraph at random and tell which character is talking, then your dual POV is working.
The breakout session I attended was Natalie Whipple's Five Things Every Beginning Needs.
Here's the short list:
World set up
Establish the norm
Sow the seeds of conflict
Then we had a DANCE. First one ever at WIFYR. It took some people a bit of time to start dancing, I mean really, it's a room full of writers.
But Carol was in good form, as always.
The best part about it was that everyone brought a book to donate to the Navajo Indian Reservation in AZ.
We had to leave early so Geary could get off her feet. She played some ukulele:
And then we watched An Adventure in Space and Time, which is a feature-length film chronicling the beginnings of Doctor Who. We cried.
And that was the end of the third day.