|The Official Sara Zarr and Me *|
Sara Zarr -- whose STORY OF A GIRL (Little Brown) was a National Book Award Finalist-- and who has written many other equally brilliant books that make me want to read them over and over, is a fine and thoughtful teacher. We talked about tools of writing craft, about beginnings, middles and ends. About how your readers are stepping through the door of your book and you must work to ensure that they are not confused. About character self-awareness and how it guides backstory. Prologues and flashbacks and methods of storytelling. 3 act structure and about the important marker that occurs somewhere at the first 30 or 35 pages. About emotional growth. And much, much more.
By the time Chris Mandelski (THE SWEETEST THING, Egmont) and I hit the road at 5:30 for Houston -- along with EVERY cyclist who had ridden the MS 150 from Houston to Austin and was now driving home on 290, bumper to bumper with us-- we were pleasantly exhausted from learning, talking, digging into the work. Also, there is a certain amount of red wine that is consumed in these events, particularly when 6 of us stay on the top floor of the Albert Oaks B&B and thus ensure that the party continues for a good long while...
Bethany Hegedus, whose most recent MG novel is TRUTH WITH A CAPITAL T (Delacorte/Random House) is not only an author and my friend, but also the Creative Director of an amazing space for writers in Austin called The Writing Barn. Her latest creation, this series of Advanced Writing Workshops designed for working writers rather than novices, is truly fabulous. If you want more information on the Barn, click HERE .
We writers need our tribe. This weekend allowed us to bond and work and create and laugh. Amazing stuff!!
*Photo by Sam Bond
Up later this week: THE LAURA LINE by Crystal Allen and a contest for an advanced ACTUAL copy of THE SWEET DEAD LIFE!! (you know you want it!!)