Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Happened at the Writer's Conference

The writer's conference is over until next year.

I sat at the banquet table with my fingers crossed, but. . . only one of my entries to their annual writer's contest won anything. My picture books never placed. My middle grade manuscript, The Family Secret, received 2nd Honorable Mention. It is still a thrill to hear your name called out. My poem, I am From Appalachia, won 2nd place on the Writer's Wall -Poetry.

One of my favorite workshops was Marc Harshman's Saturday workshop. 
Have you heard of Mr. Harshman?
He is a poet and picture book writer and was just named West Virginia's Poet Laureate!
I think it is great that a picture book writer was named our Poet Laureate.

He's not only a great writer, but the nicest person you would ever want to meet.

Here he is flipping through the pages of his book, Only One.

Here are the 11 picture books that he has had published. He also stated that another book is coming out next year.

I also went to a workshop about pesky parents in middle grade stories.
What do you do about pesky parents?
Eliminate them
Make them cool
Make them  goofy
Have them put obstacles in front of the kids.

Some other suggestions:
Don't have them boring 
Tell about what the parents say, kind of like the Charley Brown cartoons where parents are heard in the background.

Tips for creating dynamic children's characters:
Every child at one time or another has been confused. Use that confusion to create depth in your character.
Consistent people are boring people. Look for contradictions in your characters.

In one of the handouts there was a quote.
"The real secret of patience is to find something to do in the meantime."

What am I doing?
I just finished writing a new picture book! I love it and can't wait to start sending it out.
And, I just came up with an idea for another middle grade novel. I'm really excited about this, I've only written one MG and didn't think I would write any more. But this idea came to me out of the blue. I will need to do a little research first, but I am anxious to start.

posted by Janet F. Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch
©Janet F. Smart


  1. Congratulations on your win..and you are a winner, look at all of your published work..I admire you so much..

  2. I think it's great that your manuscript and poem both received honors. I will have to look up the writer that you mentioned.

  3. Congratulations! Sounds like a good conference. You inspire me to keep writing.

  4. Congratulations on your poem and on the honorable mention. I'm glad you had a creative adventure!

    Happy Weekend :)

  5. Congratulations upon your winnings. It sounded like a great workshop. I'm glad you attended and thanks for sharing this with us. Sounds like a wonderful workshop.

  6. Sounds great! Those parents ARE hard to deal with in middle grade writing. :-)


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