Monday, July 30, 2012

SCBWI Young Adult Workshop

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?


Andrea Mack said...

Christy, I think it's so important to keep making sure the main character is active all the way through (something I'm checking for as I revise). It's so easy to slip into having the main character just report on what's happening.

Barbara Watson said...

I haven't interviewed my characters but what a great way to truly get in their heads!

Bish Denham said...

I have interviewed my characters upon occasion, particularly when something didn't seem to be going right with their story. Even if you don't use the information you get, it can deepen you understanding of a character's motives.

Karen Strong said...

Thanks for sharing your workshop experience. :) Very interesting.

I find that I can get information when I interview my characters about current events -- I can get feel for their personalities.

Christina Farley said...

These are such great comments. Lots of good ideas.

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the idea to keep asking - is my character active! Sounds like a great scene check for me - thanks!! :)

LynNerdKelley said...

Sounds like it was a great conference. I've done character profiles but never interviewed them. Such a good idea. I can see how it would be super helpful. Have a great week, Christina!

Golden Eagle said...

I've interviewed a couple of protagonists/secondary characters, but I don't do it often. Should probably ask more questions--it can definitely help realize characters more.

Marco said...

Hello, could you please inform the name of the photographer of this cover?