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....
...my 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 industry...so 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.