Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Writing Backwards

I’ve created all sorts of writing exercises for myself in my search for more picture book stories. Next week I need to turn in a few for the workshop portion of my residency in July. I tried three different approaches last week and came up with three new stories. One of these involved a dictionary and random words. That was fun and I ended up with an interesting story.

Most recently I wrote backwards, as in opposite of the way I normally do. Typically I’ll write the story first, and then storyboard (or outline) it. But this time I printed out my storyboard template--essentially a page (designed on excel) with little boxes--before I wrote the story. Then I overlaid Uma Krishnaswami’s suggested picture book layout and wrote the basic elements of story (elements like turning points) into some squares. (By the way, I am first in line for a copy when Uma publishes a writing craft book.) Then I wrote a few words about each of the major story points in the squares.

After I filled out my sheet, I used what I came up with and wrote the story. Of course it needs revising if I choose to develop this story. (I don’t develop every story I write.) This was a very interesting process and helped me understand plot and story development in another way.

I still prefer to start with a character and see what happens as the story unfolds. But I enjoy experimenting.

I should try another backwards approach. I never know how my stories will end when I start them. I wonder what kind of story I’ll find if I start with the ending and work backwards, scene by scene.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Manuscript Critique Auction--benefits Hunger Mountain

Amazing authors who are also great teachers are donating manuscript critiques to raise money for the literary journal Hunger Mountain. (Vermont College of Fine Arts journal.)

Check it out.

A full manuscript critique with National Book Award finalist, Martine Leavitt!
A Picture book critique with Newbery Honor author, Marion Dane Bauer!
A full manuscript critique with Donna Jo Napoli!
A manuscript critique with Laura McGee Kvasnosky!
A YA or MG critique by Tim Wynne-Jones!
A YA or MG critique with Sarah Ellis!

A full manuscript critique by literary agent Mark McVeigh!!! No page limit!

YA or MG critique with Assistant Agent Tracy Marchini!

This is a great opportunity to get feedback from some amazing authors.

And more authors and poets are donating critiques. I only listed some of them.
Look for details at the auction site.

The online auction is here.

Additional details can be found on Cynsations.