Thursday, February 28, 2013

Revision, Craft and Workshops that Work



             Sometimes writing workshops are real duds.  The break-out sessions are led by editors who tell you what they don’t like, or by writers waxing on about their numerous rejection letters and failures before finally becoming the most published and financially successful writers in all of human history.  And I guess those lectures have their place, but I’m always on the hunt for some good, old-fashioned craft.  I want to know how a writer takes a kernel of an idea and turns it into a finely tuned, airtight story with an unexpected but utterly satisfying ending.  This weekend, I went to a workshop that really paid off!  The topic was revision and the leaders were Newbery Winner Linda Sue Park and the fabulous JuliaDurango.



I traveled to this fabulous workshop with two other writers who happen to live on my block.   "The Writer's Block."

So, over the next week I will write up some of the nuggets of wisdom I cam away with and share them here!

          First, let me say that Linda Sue Park is one of those genius writers who can explain her process in a way that is so concrete that other writers can actually understand and apply it!  I felt a little like I was in a math class chock-full of diagrams and quick explanations that made sense!

Today, I’ll tell you about the way she suggests tackling the monumental task of being an author.

                                                              READ

Maybe you’ve heard this before but it’s so important.  She began the workshop by having us do an icebreaker.  Each participant had the name of a character in a children’s book pasted to their backs and we had to attempt to figure out who we were.  It was fun but more importantly, it was eye-opening.  In a room of thirty-five participants, there were many writers who had never heard of Jo March, Encyclopedia Brown, Milo and Tock, Betsy Tacy, Peter Warren Hatcher, Meg Murray, Ponyboy and Knufflebunny.  Then she made the point; If you aren’t a reader, how can you possibly learn the language of writing?

So that’s the first tool add to your new box.

         If you want to write for children and you don’t recognize the list of names above, Linda Sue suggests, you may have some homework to do.





One Last Thought Before Ushering out Black History Month


8 comments:

  1. Ug. I only recognize half the names. Thanks for sharing your gained knowledge. :)

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    1. Thanks! I'll be posting more detailed stuff but thought I should start with the most basic. These are all characters from great books though!

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  2. Don't you love a great workshop? So inspiring! Glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Yes! The best ones can be life changing.

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  3. Sounds like you guys struck it rich with this workshop. (And I love the name of your group... maybe y'all should form a band, too.)

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    1. Not a bad idea, Susan. Not bad at all...

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  4. I have loved the genius of Linda Sue Park since A Single Shard. Now you have given me even more reason to love her. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Shamefully, I haven't read that one! I have to go to the library this weekend!

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