Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WFYR Conference Update

I'm down at the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference this week at BYU. Well, actually I'm driving back and forth 2 hours each way every day (long story, equally long commute) except for today, because I'm getting kids off to their 4 day soccer tournament in Cedar City and meeting with tape-measure-and-hammer people about the house remodel that is about to whip up in a flurry around us.

I'll have to remember to take pictures tomorrow. A camera being toted around in purse does not take pictures by itself.

I'm in the morning workshops being led by Alane Ferguson, who is absolutely amazing. Her knack for editorial insight and guidance has blown me away. Here are a few nuggets.

Don't underestimate dialogue. Good dialogue will move a plot forward more than narrative.

In addition to having a good hook on page 1, tap into a Universal by page 2. A universal is that element that everyone on the planet can relate to: need to belong, fear of abandonment, fear of failure, a curiosity in wondering how a character will use his/her power to get what he/she wants, etc.

At the end of the story, the conflict must be resolved (of course), but there must always be a cost for the character in getting that resolution.

Be mindful of "burying the lead." This means, put the emotional hook, the conflict, the important stuff up front. Don't let it be muddled in an otherwise beautiful, well-written narrative, assuming the reader will "get it."

Claudia Mills was thoroughly entertaining. She suggested a few books for inspiration in the craft. Two of them are If You Want to Write by Brenda Velan and The Creative Habit by Twyla Thorpe.

Lael Littke, the bionic woman with titanium knees (my mouth literally dropped to the floor when she told us of her recent surgery!), also stressed the importance of adding that emotional conflict to the main conflict. This gets the reader connected to the character. And, of course, there has to be an event that forces the character to take a different direction.

Make it great day!

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