Sunday, June 12, 2016

Writing Tips Gleaned from Florida SCBWI Summer Conference

Just got back from the Florida SCBWI Summer Conference and this is the first year I made it to the Silent Auction and Elixir Mixer.

Look what I won the auction! Thank you Tara Powers for donating this beautiful birdhouse.

I bought this for a special friend who will remain nameless. She will get it in July for birthday, but her birthday is in August.

Here are some things I will get to keep even though they are shared here.

From Tracey Adams of Adams Literary shared this about character:
Explore your character. Look online for character studies.
What is your character afraid of?
What does he daydream about?
Use Pinterest to choose  items that inspire you or remind you of your character.
Draw a picture of him/her.
Draw a map or legend of location. The setting could be a character.

How would your character finish these lines?
You need to know____
You can't know____
The truth is____
The first time____
I would die for ____

Jim Averbeck talked about mystery vs suspense.
His book Hitch is a historical fiction about a boy whose aunt is kidnapped and he teams up with Alfred Hitchcock to find her.
Mystery is more of an intellectual who dunit and suspense is more of an emotional process.

There is a difference between shocking/thrilling which last a few seconds to drawing out a scene to build tension. A few movie clips were shown to emphasize the meaning.
Four things needed to build suspense are:
1. Audience awareness. an example was giving of a man talking about baseball (boring) and a bomb exploded and obliterated everyone. But if you told (show) the audience the that there is a bomb and it was going off in five minutes then it builds the suspense.
2. Ticking bomb see above. you can increase by adding another ticking bomb.
3. Stakes- what are the stakes if the bomb goes off?
4. Disempower your protagonist. Put your character in a position where he can't do anything. This can be done by having a power shift between MC and another character, dwindling options, dramatic irony

Linda Sue Park gave several revision tips. She said she doesn't like books on how to write with the exception of authors who write about how they write. Don't worry, I'll still review and giveaway writing craft books here. She said the best way to learn to write is to read hundreds of books.
When you get stuck writing ask your self "What does he want in this scene?"
1. Read story out loud in the voice your character would use.
2. Widows and orphans are when there is one word left on a line before a new paragraph starts. Try to eliminate a word in the paragraph to bring it up. No fair adding words!
3. Change the font and critique it. This helps to fool your mind and help you be more objective.
4. For Voice: Choose a sentence and rewrite it as many different ways you can.. You may be surprised with what you come up with.
5. Copy and paste a section and then delete. Rewrite it. Is it shorter? Only the important things will be left ( most of the time).
6. Start at the end of manuscript and work back. Look for nouns. If the noun isn't in the first 2/3 thirds of the book it needs to go or be added in first 2/3.

Hope this helps!
Don't forget to enter to win The Legend of Ghost Dog Island or The Writing Book.


Sue Heavenrich said...

great tips from the conference! thanks for sharing. I agree with Linda Sue Park - read books and see how other writers solve the problems. But I still read books about writing...

Sherri Jones Rivers said...

Thank you, Sheila. Some good stuff here. I'm gonna try some of those suggestions.

Sheila Renfro said...

Some of these I hadn't heard of before so I'm excited to try too. Some we did while we were there.

Evelyn said...

Thanks for sharing, Sheila. And thank you for your continued generosity in giving away books to your blog readers. (The bird house, btw, is adorable and I'm sure the recipient will love it.)

Joyce Lansky said...

Interesting tips. I have my complete story in mind. I guess I have to figure out my little rodent's personality.

Chris Bailey said...

Thanks for sharing your conference notes!

jo kittinger said...

Thanks Sheila! Sounds like a good conference.

Linda Carpenter said...

Thanks for sharing the conference! Hope to make the next one!

Patricia Weaver said...

so glad yall got to meet. You're nameless friend loves it...

Sheila Renfro said...

Glad everyone enjoyed the tips. Please feel free to add any of your tips too!

Maria K said...

Thanks so much for sharing these tips, Sheila!