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What A Writing Weekend!

My writing retreat was divine!

What a fantastic experience - surrounded by a group of interesting and supportive writers with a common interest...to improve their craft.

Held at Vermont College, the weekend was organized by Cindy Faughnan and Sarah Aronson, (author of Head Case). The two of them coordinated a wonderful mix of writing presentations, critique groups, and one-on-one critiques. It involved much planning and foresight to make an event like that go smoothly and they did it well. Thanks to both of you!


MAIN SPEAKER
Cheryl Klein of Arthur A.  Levine (an imprint of Scholastic - She was the continuity editor on the Harry Potter series and edits Lisa Yee.)

If you ever have the opportunity to hear Cheryl Klein speak, please take advantage of it. Her presentation was amazing - full of practical advice on novel writing, plot, and surprise. She was witty and eloquent. Her examples ranged from Aristotle to Austen to Rowling...and they meshed perfectly. If you are looking for some sage advice, check out the link to her website above or to her blog below.. I've been reading her posts for quite some time and her humor makes me laugh out loud (Baby Got Book being one of my favs), while her knowledge and voice astound me.


AUTHORS IN RESIDENCE:
During the weekend, we were treated to presentations on writing by...

Kathi Appelt,, author of The Underneath (and about twenty other books!)
Her presentation used the picture book Skippyjon Jones to talk about suprise and plot. Following the ppt, she led a discussion about character motivation, which many of us agreed was helpful when planning plot continuity.

Elise Broach, author of Masterpiece (love that miniature world), Shakespeare's Secret, and numerous picture books
After Elise's presentation, I had writer's cramp. Her editing tips and suggestions on how to focus your attention to each section of the novel made me want to run upstairs to my room and get to work.

Later, I was EXTREMELY fortunate to have a one-on-one critique with her. She had excellent ideas on how to polish my YA dystopian novel. Her enthusiasm for my writing validated my efforts and made the entire trip worthwhile. Elise is a talented writer who is also a talented teacher, and I was excited to get such specific details on fine-tuning my work from the meeting. I am still smiling!


MY CRITIQUE GROUP LEADER:
Tami Lewis Brown, author of Soar, Elinor and One Shiny Silver Key
Working with Tami was such a pleasure. You could tell she had put much thought into our submissions and treated each of us with dignity, humor, and honesty. Her comment on seeing the "camera angle" in one of my scenes and the way in which the focus moves really makes such a difference in my opening with just the addition of a few words. She was a graduate of Vermont College and her knowledge was evident. Thanks for some wonderful suggestions...I can't wait to begin working on tweaking my novel to get it ready for submission.

Our group worked well together and we had an excellent time sharing one another's excerpts. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions.


SERENDIPITY:
How cool is it that I met Sarah Sullivan, who lives about 10 miles from where my father was born in West Virginia? She graciously autographed a book for my mom, who left FL after my father's death and returned to her childhood home in WV. I hope to meet up with her when I go there on my spring break this year!

NEXT BLOG:
All of the livejournal writers I met at the Vermont College writing conference....

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
matt_medic
Mar. 30th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Someone from WV?

My LW (Lovely WIfe) Lori and I always laugh when we see a WV license plate. We always celebrate Mom's extreme excitement over anything West Virginian. The apple has not fallen far. Enjoy your spring break.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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