- Final words from Linda Sue Park.
- My outline for novel structure comes from author Lois Lowry (I’m a strong believer in learning from the best!). I read about how she builds her stories:
- Complications and choices
- Once again, I've adapted another writer’s advice to suit the way I work. I divide “Quest” into two sections: Internal and External. In every scene I write, the character must either make progress toward or face impediments to the quest(s). As a corollary, it follows that the greatest number of words is spent on “Complications and Choices. ”Here’s an example of how I used this outline when writing my first book, Seesaw Girl:
- Character: Jade Blossom, a 12-year-old girl, daughter of a wealthy family, living in 17th-century Korea. Extended family? Grandparents?
- Quest (external): To discover what lies beyond the walls of her home.Quest (internal): To find her place in a world that severely restricts the activities of girls and women.
- Complications and choices: Depiction of Inner Court life. Possible escape? Friendship with someone who leaves home? Sees French missionaries on the road. Wants to paint what she has seen. Second escape?
- Climax: Idea for seesaw Conclusion: Sacrifice (what?) to accomplish goal.
- Change: character growth, but how? acceptance?
- As you can see, it's quite a rough outline and it's also the full extent of my planning before I begin writing; a detailed chapter-by-chapter plan doesn't work for me. I find the act of writing itself triggers creativity, and I want to leave myself lots of room to follow the story where it goes as I'm writing it.
- The final version of the manuscript differs in several ways from this initial outline, especially the “Complications and Choices,” but using it as a blueprint keeps me from wandering too far off track. What I like best about Ms. Lois Lowry's outline is that there is NO step labeled “Theme.” I think she believes as I do: That theme should grow out of the character and the story. If a writer begins with theme, the story is likely to be heavy-handed and messagey ... the kind of book kids run away from. And I”m running right beside them! -copyright@2000 Linda Sue Park and used by permission
More on writing from Linda Sue Park.
This tip I gleaned from author Katherine Paterson. Her books The Spying Heart and The Gates of Excellenceare wonderful collections of essays on writing for children. Ms. Paterson explains that her method is to write two pages per day, every day. I adapted this as follows:I don't write every day because I also teach part-time. But on my writing days, I sit down at the keyboard in the morning and I don't get up until I've written at least two pages.Ms. Paterson doesn't say if she means single- or double-spaced—so I decided on double-spacing! That's about 500 words, which works well for me. Others may find a page count or an amount of time more useful. Still others write when the muse strikes them (but I'd be waiting until doomsday if I tried that approach). Find what works for you.On bad days, I might get 480 words written and throw them all away the next day. (My theory there is, I figure I'm getting all the awful stuff out of me ...) On good days, two pages becomes twenty. But—and this is key—when I sit down to write I never know for sure which kind of day it's going to become. I do my two pages no matter how crummy I feel about writing that day ... and when I'm lucky, the act of writing itself turns the day into a good one.
copyright@2000 Linda Sue Park and used by permission
This is the first in a series of three insightful pieces from guest blogger, Linda Sue Park.
Read. That's the single best thing an aspiring writer can do for his or her work. I once heard an editor say, “Read a thousand books of the genre you're interested in. THEN write yours.”I was astonished and pleased to hear her say this—because that's exactly what I did. During the years when I had no thought of writing for children (see Biography), I read and read and read. Middle-grade novels. Hundreds of them—easily more than a thousand. Then I wrote mine—and it sold on its first submission. Luck? Coincidence? Maybe ... but I doubt it.My personal reading list draws from a wide variety of genres. I love middle-grade novels best, but I also read Young Adult novels and picture books. I read adult literary fiction, mysteries and nonfiction. I read poetry. I love books on food and travel. Whether a wondrous story or a hilarious passage of dialogue or a beautiful sentence or a memorable image, every bit of reading I do helps my own writing. The rhythm of language and the way words combine to communicate more than their dictionary meanings infuse the serious reader's mind and emerge transformed when that reader sits down to write.That's really the best possible advice I could give any writer—read. But I find that folks are often disappointed with this advice, so I'll offer a few more basic tips.Writing is a highly personal, idiosyncratic endeavor. Advice that works for one writer may not work for another. Still, I love reading about how other writers work, and in doing so I found the two most important tools I use in my own writing. (Please note that these are probably more relevant for those who write novels or other longer works.)
Copyright 2000 @ Linda Sue Park, used by permission only.
October 1st. - Bartlett Festival
W. J. Freeman Park
9:30 - 5:30
Bartlett Christian Writers will be offering children's story readings throughout the day at our booth to promote our writers group.
Also on October 1st. - BookStock
Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in Memphis
2:00 - 5:00
Bartlett Christian Writers will be represented at our own table. This is an annual event for all Memphis area writers to participate that offers authors local visibility, the opportunity to network with other writers, and partake in writing workshops. We will be promoting our writers group and selling books written by our group authors including my own.
October 3rd - Trisha Petty Offers Free Writing Workshops
Call the information desk at 457-2602 to Sign-up
These workshops are FREE of charge.
Petty has been involved with the development to projects such as “Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn,” “North and South,” and “Paint Your Wagon.” She has co-authored 13 novels and worked as a Production Assistant contributing story boards and character. Trisha writes historical novels with a Christian perspective.
If you wish to follow Trisha Petty on facebook, click here.
If you are a children's book writer and have never had a chance to attend the SCBWI conferences either in NYC or LA, then this is a very affordable conference that anyone can attend. It is held in Nashville every September. They do have a list serv on Yahoo, where anyone can join. It is open to both members and non-members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, which you can access at http://SCBWI.org
This conference offers just as many great editors, agents, accomplished writers, and special speakers. This year's keynote speaker was Linda Sue Park, the Newberry Award winner for "A Single Shard," Clarion Books 2001. She lives in New York City with her husband and family. What impressed me most about her was the fact that she writes about children in places she has never been herself. Although she does not normally do this as a rule, she did make this one exception because of the extraordinary true story. This was encouraging to me, since I have done the same thing in another book project. She is fortunate in that her husband is a journalist who has traveled to those areas and therefore has given her first hand experience and information hot off the press. That coupled with a lot of interviews with her subject and sound research on her own is how she wrote "A Long Walk To Water," Clarion Books This is a middle grade fiction novel based on a true story that takes place in Africa, where she has never visited. It was encouraging to know that editors are completely open to writers who write about people in other cultures and places even if you yourself have never had the opportunity to visit there.
Linda Sue Park presented break out sessions that were filled with ideas on how to improve your fiction manuscript and how she went about developing her own. Other breakout sessions offered lots of good information to those who are new to writing in the children's book arena. There were sessions for illustrators as well. This conference gave me the opportunity to mingle and brush shoulders with the best of the best of them. I got email addresses of editors, agents, and several accomplished authors who offer lots of great advice on their blogs. These are agents and editors who do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, but offered to allow submissions from conference attendees. There are many advantages given to writers who will put in the time and investment to attend conferences. The networking with other writers is invaluable as well. I walked away with a bag full of business cards, session notes, and reading material that will carry me through until the next year's conference rolls around.
Exciting news! Boot Camp for Christian Writers is coming to Germantown Baptist Church!
Saturday, November 5, 2011 (9:00 - 3:30 p.m.)
Boot Camp for Christian Writers is a no-nonsense, basic, information-packed, all day seminar that educates and equips Christian writers to write clearly, communicate effectively to a chosen audience, professionally approach magazine editors and book publishers with good ideas, and get articles and books published! Founded and taught by authors Denise George (author of 25 books and more than 1500 magazine articles), and CarolynTomlin (author of 8 books and more than 3600 magazine articles).
Hundreds of people have already participated in these information-packed seminars! They are writing confidently, contacting editors with magazine and book ideas, selling articles to magazines, and receiving book contracts from major publishers! Attend one of our Boot Camp for Christian Writers seminars and become a lifetime member of our “Family of Christian Writers”! Carolyn Tomlin and Denise George will offer two unique seminars! You may choose between:
You are invited to see the ten page sampler of Southern Writers Magazine at www.southernwritersmagazine.com. While you are there drop by and visit our blog, Suite T.
Hope you enjoy your trip.
If you've written a "ringer dinger" in rhyme recently - from a children's story, poem, or a country song. From now until September 15th, 2011, send your best attempt at your most humorous worst rhyming story and please keep it clean - no bad language or pornographic prose. 400 words or less. The prize is a free copy of the September/October issue of Southern Writers Magazine which includes an article about how Kim McClean and Devon O'Day write songs from the heart that are sung by Tim McGraw, Trisha Yearwood, and other country greats.
Email your poem/lyrics of 400 words or less to....:firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Akins offers a comprehensive guide on all things writing to authors on her website.
Did you know that Blog4Writers offers much more than a weekly message? It's intended to be a source of information and inspiration for writers on a variety of topics including writing, blogging, marketing, social networking, and more. When you read the weekly e-mail, you can click through from the article title to the Blog4Writers page on www.emilyakins.com.
Once you arrive on the site, you can navigate this treasure trove of information in several ways. Try one or more of these methods.
Take the grand tour. For an organized approach, click on the Home tab and follow the listed steps to explore resources lists and other articles not included in the blog.
She welcomes your comments. Please feel free to suggest topics for future articles. She will accept submissions for guest posts on topics that fit the established categories. Please see the submission guidelines here.
Point of View (POV) refers to what goes on inside the head of one person during a scene or a book. The modern rule is to stay in one POV. I could also say that you become that person and readers know how the POV individual sees life.
Newer writers tend to jump from head to head within a scene, and often they're not aware of what they're doing. (That style of writing isn't wrong but it takes great skill. Often called omniscient POV, I'll discuss it later.)
Let's say you've chosen first-person POV. You cannot possibly know how another character feels or thinks. Suppose you're in first person and you look at Jamie. "His angry countenance frightened me." How do you know he's angry? You can assume such an attitude, but maybe it's only indigestion or he's thinking of his loss in a bad business deal.
Try it this way: "The look on his face frightened me. Jamie had a right to be angry . . ."
Choose one POV and stay with it.
From Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer
July 26, 2016
Links of Interest: