Monday, June 24, 2013

Pitching, Writing and Waiting

What is writing all about?

Among other things, it is about pitching, writing and waiting.

I came back from our writer's conference pumped up. A few days ago, I sent out my MG, Duck and Cover, to an agent. We were introduced to each other via email by Christine Witthohn (another great agent that I pitched to at the conference). Now I am on pins and needles (and crossing my fingers and toes) waiting to hear back from this great agent she introduced me too.

In the meantime, I have been working on a new PB!

So far I have three versions of it that I am writing.

My first attempt was in first person and I really loved it and it was titled My Monster. Then I got to thinking and thought it may be confusing to the young reader in first person. So I changed it to Margie's Monster! I now have two versions of it under the title of Margie's Monster.

I am having a great time fleshing it out - changing words and phrases here and there - inserting new ideas as they come to me. I love writing picture books. It is amazing how different my final version can be from the version I started out with.

Picture books, though short, are just like any other manuscript you write. It takes time and patience and just the right words, but more so with picture books. Every word has to be special. When writing picture books, grab onto your imagination and leave those weak words at the back door and don't bring them into the house.

By the way, there is a great post over at Bookshelf Muse about critiquing. I am going to copy her info and put it to good use. Check it out if you get the chance.

Happy Writing!

Posted by Janet Smart  on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Villains! My Evil Plan is Working

I just attended the annual  WVWriter's Convention over the weekend.

Workshops, meeting writers face to face and learning. That is what I like about writers' conferences. At a lot of the workshops they have you write. They will give you a prompt and then a few minutes to write. They say, "after all this is a writing conference and this is why you came here."

Well, that is not exactly true for me. I write all the time. When I am not writing, I am thinking about what I am going to write. And . . . I am not good at writing on the spur of the moment with only a few minutes to think about what I am going to write.

I like to spend my conference time learning, brainstorming, finding out more about getting published, finding out what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong, etc.

I attended a workshop out of my genre.

My Evil Plan is Working! Creating Believable Villains that Readers Secretly Love and Love to Hate.

I don't usually have villains in my children's stories. But what the heck, there is always a first time.

I learned a few interesting tidbits of information:

Think about what caused your character to become a villain.

Villains think they are right. Villains have a special skill. Villains are sure of themselves.
Villains are intelligent.

Reveal info about your villain early on.

If you have a villain, of course, you must have a hero.

Your hero is always challenged by the villain. The hero also has a special skill to help defeat the villain. Your hero is also intelligent, but usually in a different way and he might not use his intelligence until later on in the story to defeat the villain. The hero is usually full of doubt, but he will overcome this doubt as the story progresses.

Insert a twist into your story.

Start your story with something tragic.

These are just a few ideas my brain absorbed from this workshop.

I think I can use these ideas in my writing for children. My characters can have special skills, be intelligent and have to overcome something in their life (villain) to achieve their goal. My story can start with something tragic (but not too tragic) and a  twist is always good to have in your story.

My mind is whirling with ideas now on how to use this info with some of the stories I am currently working on.

Oh, and by the way, it is always fun and inspiring to win!

I placed in the WVWriter's annual spring writing contest. I got 2nd in the children's category with my nonfiction PB, Grasshoppers! Woo hoo! I did a happy dance. A MG I submitted received 1st Honorable Mention. Maybe I can use some of the above info to bump up my MG a notch (or two)!

What do you like about conventions?

What do you suggest to bump up a manuscript a notch or two.

Posted byJanet Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.