Sunday, April 13, 2008

Los Angeles Writer's Day.

Spent the day at the beautiful Clairbourne school in San Marino yesterday for the SCBWI Los Angeles Writer's Day.
On the drive down, I confessed to my writing friend, Maggie, that my goal for the day was to get inspired. Lately, I've been slightly anxious due to this horrendous submitting phase I'm in. I wasn't disappointed.
Patricia Gauch from Philomel gave the most wonderful, inspiring talk about writing. She let us know that over 80% of the submissions she receives don't make the emotional cut. So her talk on "Heart of a Writer" began.
She asked us to not only write about what we see, but how we interpret what it is that we see. She said that this is one of the most important factors in writing. And that telling is needed as much as showing. (Have to admit it, I've never heard that before.)
She quoted Kate DiCamillo, Laura Halse Anderson and Jerry Spinelli and spoke of their passion for their characters. She spoke of how they didn't flinch (a word she used many times) when writing the truth about their characters. In her kind, yet commanding way, Mrs. Gauch, encouraged us to go bigger, dig deeper, be sassy, and don't flinch. Give your characters values even if they don't realize they have them.
In short, I got what I wanted. Thank you Mrs. Gauch!
I could go on, but I won't because I want to get to the most exciting part of the day.... friend Laura won an honorable mention for her sci-fi, YA fantasy novel, Transfer Student. We were so excited! Not as much as Laura, but we were right up there with her! We've been attending these events for years now, honing our craft, working hard on revising and networking as much as we can. She deserves this so much!
It was a year ago that I won an honorable mention for my MG novel and let me tell you, I stare at my certificate every day. It's not often you get kudo's in this hates off to you Laura! Yahoo!
It felt like a long ride home. Clairbourne school has some air conditioning problems, so we were a bit drained from the heat. Maggie and I spoke about our novels, the different phases we are in and the personal struggles that come from every stage. We both decided that it's hard. Writing fiction can be taxing on your psyche. I shared with her that listening to Cecil Castellucci was both hysterical and liberating. She spoke about her publishing realities, the length of time it took her to get published and about the frustrating set backs she encountered. It felt good to know that we're not alone.
Another year...sigh.


  1. Dear Patty--Wow! Can't believe you jumped out of bed to write this post so early in the morning. Instead, I stayed in bed and thought about yesterday. It was a satisfying day. Think I'm ready to enter the "No Flinch" zone, too.

    Thanks for being my chauffeur, sounding board and writing buddy.


  2. Hi, Patty. Wow - you're being productive and I'm fiddling with a meme. If it fits with your blog, I tagged you for it (see my post "I Have Been Tagged!" If not, that's ok, too - wasn't sure if you did meme's or not...

  3. Patty,
    Great post. THANKS SO MUCH! I had such a great time with you yesterday. And I'm still on cloud nine. Can't wait to see what's next for us this year. For now though I think I'll just enjoy the moment [and get back at those revisions]. Surprised I didn't have heart palpitations last night. Somehow or another my BP stayed under control yesterday:) My doc would be so happy.

  4. Oh Yes, Maggie...just bounded out of bed! Wrote the post then spent the day at the beach while Elly and Newt sailed. Ahhh.
    Kim: Thanks for meme-ing me. I will respond as soon as I find out what a meme is. Should be fun! queen! Sooo proud and happy for you.

  5. Patty - a meme is just where you tell a little about yourself by posting on your blog and answering the same questions from the tagger's blog post. (I'm new to this, too - did that make sense?)

  6. You're so lucky! Sounds like a great day. And congrats about your award--it must give you so much inspiration to work on your novel!

  7. I came here via a random Google search. "Writing fiction can be taxing on your psyche" is so, so true. It drives me insane sometimes, but I keep coming back to it. I loved the advice that telling is needed as much as showing. That's definitely a new twist to the old rule. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. All rileyed up: Great blog name! Thanks for visiting. Just read a brief bit in your blog. Congrats on finishing your first novel. Huge accomplishment.


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