So, after Bruce Hale told us the 7 secrets, he did a raffle. We had to put in our contact details in his hat, and he pulled them out. Whoever got lucky, won either a book of his or a CD of one of his courses. I was unlucky. We also did an exercise. We were given a sheet of several opening lines, and had a few minutes to carry on the story of the line we had chosen. I chose one that began something like this 'When I stepped inside the house, I would never have guessed that the old lady....' I chose this line because it was perfect to go with a short story I have planned to revise for the womag market next year. Then some of us read ours out.
Then Bruce read some pages from other books. One had the 'ticking bomb' example in that the character said, 'Pretty dumb of me, I know.' You can use this as a dialogue example. Use close 3rd person - plant clues that make reader think things are going to happen.
Someone asked about using mixed POV for 9-12 year olds - answer, use if necessary.
Writing for boys - Write for a non-reader in a hurry. Think of their distractions (video games etc). Have immediacy. Humour, action, suspense. Grab them at the start.
How he plans - Does messy first draft to get story out. General plan. Plan 2/3 of book. The chunk at the end he doesn't know what happens.
His publisher buys his books from the titles. Has a book out every 6 months.
Make it fun and engaging.
And that was that.
Oh, and somewhere in between he had us singing 'My Way'. We had a great time, and I certainly learnt loads from it, esp helping me with my current YA ebook.