Jill Davis, Executive Editor, Katherine Tegen Books led the picture book workshop. She said get to know your character: who are they, where do they come from, where do they live, etc. She reviewed the picture book basics: the physical structure of a picture book, voice, rhythm, language, tone, page turns, universal experience and emotion. She also spoke on point of view, the rule of threes and playing with concepts and character.
The writing exercise involved mining your childhood memories to recall memories and objects and using some of those memories to write paragraphs.
Stacey Barney, Senior Editor, Penguin/Putnam Books for Young Readers led the novel writing workshop. Stacey reviewed the mechanics of novel revising: character, plot, setting, conflict, dialogue, voice, point of view, genre, writing style and mood. Each of the above topics were discussed and broken down further.
The writing exercise was to work in pairs and write a first page using the elements above and expand that to five pages.
Our closing speaker was Alan Katz who entertained us as only Alan Katz could. He sang several songs, shared some of his childhood experiences and his family history. Specifically, how he was told at every turn, "no one needs funny." His advice was to play with words, have fun with them, be all you can be, meet everyone you can and put your work everywhere you can. His closing words were anyone can "do funny."
Manuscripts were critiqued by Tracy Marchini off site. Attendees received their written critique when they checked in and had the opportunity to speak with Tracy during the conference.
Thank you Stacey Barney, Jill Davis, Alan Katz, Tracy Marchini, the CWHV team, Merritt Bookstore, Panera for delivering our lunches and our hard working attendees for another successful event.
"Thank you for an excellent Children's Writers Conference. I found it both enjoyable and enlightening with lots of good ideas. My editor review by Tracy was also quite helpful and [an] incentive to keep writing." Catherine Cwiakala, 2014 attendee.
"Thank you for encouraging me to attend the young adult novel workshop with editor Stacey Barney. Just weeks before, I had decided to give up writing. I was done, and I didn't want to write anymore. During Stacey's workshop she not only presented the dynamics of writing a young adult novel, she offered how-to instructions. Her Powerpoint presentation was chocked full of writing ingredients from types of genres, and dialogue to the high school five point plot.
During the workshop, I had the opportunity to discuss my first page with another participant, and actually crafted a query letter based Ms. Barney's guidance. Her workshop sparked my interest in revising my own novel, not just simply revising to revise, but specific revision: remove dialogue tags and quotes, check verb tense, remove overuse of phonetically spelled words. Ms. Barney coached, she guided, instructed, she did not lecture." Angela Hooks, 2014 attendee.