Tag Archives: learning

Write to Your Strengths

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

I spent this past weekend doing a character interview with the antagonist in my work in progress. I’ve shied away from doing character interviews in the past because, frankly, they seemed silly. My characters lived in my imagination. I created them. I didn’t need to ask a series of questions of, in essence, myself pretending to be my character to figure out their weaknesses and goals. So why did I change my mind? I realized I was neglecting one of my greatest strengths as a writer. Continue reading

On demolition and darlings . . .

Alicia Finney

Alicia Finney

Every writer has heard the advice about killing your darlings.  How important it is to know when to let go, be it an idea or a beautiful passage of prose, a turn of phrase.  There is a maturity in sacrificing a small jewel in a project for the betterment of the story itself.  But let’s face it.  It hurts.  Like re-breaking a misaligned bone so that it can be re-set.  You are clearing something good to make way for something amazing.

I recently heard a somewhat extreme version of the killing your darlings concept.  It’s for those that are caught in a quagmire and cannot seem to move forward, or just those daredevils that want to see what other options might be out there.  The concept is this.  Take your best idea, or a couple of your best ideas, and throw it out.  Then dive back into the project and see what shakes loose. Continue reading

The Power of a Little Encouragement

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

I’ve posted several times about the role our regional SCBWI conference has played in my development as a writer. I can’t recommend it enough for improving your craft, networking with other writers, and expanding your knowledge of the industry. Laura posted about missing the conference last week, but being invigorated by the knowledge that two of our group won awards. Well, guess what? I won an award!

As soon as I sat back down with that beautiful piece of paper in my hands, my mind was racing through all the steps to my novel’s publication, ending with rave reviews and a long and successful career. I do realize that I have a lot of work to do between now and then, but that’s the power of a little bit of encouragement. A publishing professional said, “Hey, good job. I like that story,” and suddenly I have the renewed passion and energy to press on through the long, slow journey ahead. Continue reading

Bad Day? Here’s a Cure

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

I had a bad day on Saturday. Many things contributed, one of which was the knowledge that the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference for our region was taking place a driveable 180 miles away and I was at home having a bad day. My writing friends, including three fellow WriteOwls and two other members of my writing critique group, were all there. Together. Meeting new lovers of kid lit. Rubbing elbows with authors, illustrators, agents and editors. Talking about writing. Thinking about writing. Learning about our craft. Being inspired and motivated. And I was missing it!!! Continue reading

Writing Doesn’t Have to Be Lonely

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

Last August, I attended a new book festival hosted in my hometown. The daylong schedule was slam-packed with fantastic author panels on all kinds of topics, including an outstanding one on children’s literature. An opportunity to hear from so many authors gathered fifteen minutes from my house—for free!—was a dream come true, so as soon as I got home that night, I marked the date for this year’s festival on my calendar.

So, Saturday morning, I headed downtown to talk to book people about books. The authors were insightful and engaging, and I went to sessions for picture books, middle grade and young adult, in addition to several panels on adult literature. But one of the best parts of going to a local festival was discovering people I thought I knew in the sessions with me. Not only did I find people who loved books, but I discovered other people who created books, both writers and illustrators. Continue reading