- Make a conscious decision about who your narrator is. If you're stuck, switch POV (even to an inanimate object or animal). Even if you don't use that narrator, your story will be informed by what you discover.
- Use long vowels to slow your story down. Short vowels speed things up.
- "Writing is polished and accomplished." (Woohoo!)
- "Love the family relationships."
- "Prose is solid, tight, and evocative."
- "Characterization and dialogue feels a bit generic in places." (Fixable. I have to think harder, dig deeper)
- Develop Kate's unique POV. (Ditto)
- Sounds more middle grade than young adult. (I have received this feedback before. Middle grade, here I come.)
- Be ready to improvise when technology doesn't work the way you expect. Thanks to my gracious attendees who made my moment of "Oops, the LCD isn't projecting the online wikis as I expected," less of a panic situation and more a learning experience.
- There are several different narrative structures besides a straight linear one (Beginning, Middle, End.) The one that most interested me was pastiche. When I read Kathleen Burkinshaw's debut novel, The Last Cherry Blossom, I was intrigued by her use of headlines and snippets from radio broadcasts as part of her chapter headings. In fact, last week I was glued to the microfilm machine at the Charlotte public library searching articles from The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte News, and The Carolina Israelite for that purpose. Since I'm also including free verse and letters in Half-Truths, I'm glad to find a name for this type of novel!
|From THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM|
Example of a pastiche novel.
From John Cusick's breakout, "Pacing- What to Cut. What to Keep and What Order to Put it In":
- Physical description must reveal character.
- Character should be revealed through ACTION. Not a decision to act.
- Cut rhetorical questions.
- "Start as close to the end as possible." Kurt Vonnegut.
- Open with scene, not summary.
|5 grandchildren = going a little crazy in the conference bookstore!|
- Be careful of inner monologue that's not authentic.
- Hook your reader with emotion first.
- If you're writing historical fiction, make sure there is a good reason for placing it in the past.
- Be in the moment with your characters and scenes.