We were delighted to have Kendra Levin, Senior Editor at Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House; Emily Feinberg, Associate Editor at Roaring Brook Press; and Stacy Whitman, Publisher of Tu, an imprint of Lee and Low Books at our June 2015 CWHV Conference.
Kendra kicked off her novel writing workshops with a three-page handout. Several exercises explored character development and getting to know your character by sharing a secret or receiving a gift. When building your character you are “building layers or unpeeling layers.” Some exercises involved writing in a different perspective and stepping outside your comfort zone by writing in a different genre or POV; another exercise was to identify your main character.
“The key to successful picture book writing is to learn to think visually,” said Emily Feinberg, leader of the picture book workshops. One exercise involved working with shapes to help the writers think visually and to understand the importance of scene changes and page turns. Another exercise was to rewrite the first scene from your work-in-progress using a different perspective. In addition to other writing exercises, pagination, page turns and the acquisition process was discussed.
Stacy Whitman closed our conference with her presentation on multiculturalism. “There are much more children of color in the United States than there aren't and those children deserve to see themselves in books.” Stacy explained the importance of doing research; when the story isn’t accurate, it pulls the reader out of the story. She advocated using experts to review your manuscript to help ensure its accuracy and authenticity and having strong characters who “push on the plot more than it pushes on them.” Check out stacylwhitman.com if you are considering writing cross-culturally.
Manuscripts were critiqued by Tracy Marchini off site. Attendees received a written critique from Tracy upon check-in and had the opportunity to speak with her during free time.
We bid farewell to Tracy as a CWHV co-founder and committee member. She will continue to function as a critiquer for future CWHV conferences. We wish Tracy well in her future writing endeavors and will miss her insights, her enthusiasm and her ideas. Thank you, Tracy, for all your hard work and time that you invested in the newsletters and other tasks. Go forth and be brilliant!
Finally, conferences are a great way to network, reunite with old writer friends and exchange information. A writer informed me of a local fiction writing group where you can share and get feedback on your manuscript. http://www.meetup.com/Hudson-Valley-Fiction-Writers-Workshop/
Thank you Emily Feinberg, Kendra Levin, Tracy Marchini, Stacy Whitman, the CWHV team, Merritt Bookstore and our hard working attendees for another successful event!