Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From the conference/SCBWI-FL

My favorite speaker this time was Linda Sue Park. Perhaps this was in part because I picked her up from the airport and we had a chance to talk briefly about writing before Lisa Yee's flight came in. I wished I could have joined them for conversation over dinner, but I had a previous commitment.

Linda Sue's Saturday comments:
She began by quoting Joseph Campbell who believes there are two stories in the world:
Hero(heroine) goes on a journey
Stranger comes to town

With these two stories there are infinite possibilities of how to tell these stories. And for her this is where her stories begin.

Factors of writing:
1) Reading is training for writers -- everything I need to know about writing is between the pages of the best books. Total immersion in the language of story.
2) Discipline -- make a time commitment to the story. I have a story in my head and I have two pages to write.
3) Revise -- make the story as good as it can be

When someone critiques my story, respond with "OK."
This means, "I'm listening. I hear what you're saying. I'll think about it."

Then play with my story. Try it their way. Try it my way. What will emerge will likely be different from the original. Try writing that sentence 10 different ways.

If you're working with a picture book, cut 1200 words to 900, then cut 900 to 750, then cut to 300. If you've lost the story, you'll know where the correct number is.

Linda Sue's Sunday workshop comments:
Susan Cooper claims to be an instinctive writer. LS claims this as well. But she has worked to distill her writing to share with others.

For her, character cannot be divorced from setting.
Structure is the bones of the story
Story tells about a character who wants something and tries to get it.
Structure is the answer to the question: how will I tell the story?

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