Tuesday, 19 May 2015

SCBWI Retreat - what I learnt

I have written what I wrote, now I'm posting about what I learnt, and this was from Sally Nicholls.

The first talk she gave was about how she writes and what she came up against. Here is what I wrote from her talk:

Sally writes in scenes, but not in any order. I know I couldn't do that as a writer.

Ask questions about the main character. Who are their family. What do they do?

Be careful what message you give to children when writing about difficult times etc. Sally writes teen angst.

Personality can be defined by illness. I made a special note about this for my Asperkids series.

If you get stuck, think of the theme.

Knowing where the story ends helps the plot

For 7-9 year-olds, don't have a character by different names eg don't call the dad, Dad, Mr Jones and Bill. Call them with one name. (Made a note to do this in my Asperkids series).

As I wrote in the last post, if you get stuck 2/3 way through, then think of what your character already has. Their family, friends and hobbies. I did this with Charlie as he likes cooking, so made him more interesting by giving him a fantastic memory of recipes and their ingredients. It is related to what happens to him in the book and how he ends up.

For the second talk on the Sunday, it was more a workshop. We sat in a circle round the room. What Sally did say and I wrote down was that with plot, Act 1 is to set up the problem. Resolution cane be linked to problem. Then we had a fun hour, where Sally acted out scenes for us. She pointed to one of us and said, The story begins... and that person had to say what the character did. We had two stories: the first one ended up having ninjas and a princess in, the second turned into a mystery/thriller plot. There were a lot of laughs, but we got the idea for plot. Has to have tension in it to keep the reader going and a resolution.

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