During the SCBWI conference in Orlando, FL, I also attended the Young Adult workshop. This was led by Noa Wheeler, editor for Henry Holt, and Nancy Werlin, bestselling author of numerous books including Extraordinary. These two ladies did an excellent job exploring ways to tackle issues we face as young adult authors.
Noa Wheeler talked about how to deepen our characters by asking questions about them. One of the best questions she asked was “Is my character active?” She says we should be asking ourselves this question all through the book.
She also had us create 100 questions for our characters. I was really excited after I finished because these questions helped me build a more three dimensional character for my current WIP.
In the afternoon, Noa discussed how to write a flap copy and gave us specific examples from the books she’s edited. She said that usually the assistant editor writes these for the books, but they are a great exercise to find what the big issues of our stories are about.
Nancy is currently revising the third book that will come after Extraordinary. She broke down the revision process she is undertaking right now which I found fascinating in how she tackled her revisions. She also explained how she used the feedback from her critique partners to write another revision.
Overall, I came away with some new ways to revise and a stack of answered questions I hadn’t known about my main character.
Have you ever interviewed your characters? Did you find that helpful and if so, which questions did you find to be the most helpful?