Two weeks ago I attended the Table Rock Writers Retreat in Wildacres, NC and participated in John Claude Bemis' class on Writing for Children and Young Adults. It was an inspriational week that left me excited and raring to dig into draft #4 of Half-Truths. In this post I share some of what I learned in John's class. Next week I'll share highlights from a talk he gave to the whole group, "What Creative People Can Learn from Children" as well as a chance to win an autographed copy of The Prince Who Fell from the Sky.
|John surrounded by his appreciative students.|
#2. Lillie's opening chapter needed to start by showing her doing an important action that grips the reader.
#3. Make sure that there will be consequences for both Lillie and Kate that will make my readers worry about them and care for them.
#4. Give action and bold choices to dramatize the girls' journeys.
#5. Think about how the universal desires and anxieties that all children/young adults experience will speak to my readers.
#6. Always think: "Why will readers care about my story?"
#7. Identify what I love in a story. These are elements I will want to include in my own book.
#8. List qualities about my two protagonists which my readers will find appealing. Incorporating these qualities into my story will create sympathetic characters.
#9. Insert tension by creating stakes for the characters throughout the book.
#10. Play Apples to Apples when you get stuck and need to find out more about your character. (NOTE: It really works!)
There are TONS more that I learned but you'll have to excuse me. Draft #4's outline is tapping her foot and waiting for me to return to work.