Exploring those mysterious, underlying forces fueling a writing life

Thank You Sally Riley

During his ENCORE 2012 presentation this past weekend, Mark Peter Hughes encouraged us all to thank Sally Riley, the NE-SCBWI Regional Advisor, for her efforts in organizing this event.   So, this is my way of giving ways thanks…

I arrived at the conference with some trepidation.  In addition to the twinges of guilt over missing my son’s soccer game and (I admit with much chagrin) a slight hangover, I wasn’t sure if that’s where I really needed to be that day.

Here’s what I left with:

  • A method.   I had asked the main character of my WIP, a YA novel, to tell me about herself; but the four pages of enlightenment she provided wasn’t enough.  I needed something else.  Now I know I need to prepare an emotional biography, determine what she knows and doesn’t know.  I need to sort out the internal and external conflicts.  Thank you Karen Day.
  • Exercise.  I took a long walk in search of my character’s voice.  I walked in her shoes, tried to see the world through her eyes.  I must apologize to the many squirrels I frightened along the way with my mumbling musings.   Thank you Mark Peter Hughes.
  • A bedroom.  I used the Map It exercise to create my main character’s bedroom.  I uncovered details that revealed not only more of her personality, but links to more plot lines.  Thank you Jo Knowles and Cindy Faughnan.
  • A larger vocabulary.  I learned a new word: ascription.  And I’m currently on the hunt to rid all my stories of those annoying ascriptions and adverbs.  Thank you Mitali Perkins.

Finally, most importantly, I left with…

  • Confirmation.   Two years ago, at my first ENCORE, I wondered what it would be like to have a finished novel.  I now have two complete MG novels and I know there’s more to come, I have found a group of incredibly supportive and encouraging women to offer critiques, I am actively pursuing an agent, I am blogging and twittering (oops, I mean tweeting), and learning all I can about the craft of writing.  It was exciting to be able to provide some guidance and encouragement to Bob and Melanie, the newbies at our table.  I know I have truly grown as a writer.

I also know I was right where I needed to be that day.  So THANK YOU Sally Riley, NE-SCBWI, ASTAL, the presenters and assistants.   I promise next year, I won’t indulge in too much wine the night before (even if my birthday does happen to fall on the same weekend again).


Comments on: "Thank You Sally Riley" (14)

  1. Jill Dailey said:

    Bravo, Michele!

  2. Jessica Loupos said:

    Great post!

  3. Wow, this is a great summary of the day. It really was chock full of excellent presenters. Top notch. You have come a long way in two years!

  4. Love this post!!! Yes, THANK SALLY!!!!!! 🙂

    • Michele Manning said:

      Thank you! I enjoyed your workshop, gave me some great ideas. BTW – I just finished Pearl – loved the characters, especially Bean. She is a truly a gem!

    • Sally Riley said:

      Actually, I thank YOU, Jo. You and the other presenters were the main reason for this year’s ENCORE success!!

  5. Great post! I was bummed to have missed ENCORE! but I’m so glad that you got so much out of it. Terrific list of mentors. And, YES–Sally Riley deserves a wheel barrow full of thanks for all that she does for writers and illustrators in Southern New England. Indeed~THANK YOU, Sally!

    • Sally Riley said:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Lynda!!! It means more than you know. We missed you this year, and look forward to seeing you at next year’s ENCORE.

  6. Sally Riley said:

    This is such a lovely post, Michele! You really made my day. I’m SO happy you could come to this year’s Encore, and that it was such a good experience for you. Sorry we didn’t know it was your birthday, we’d have sung “Happy Birthday” to you!! At least next year’s date of September 28th shouldn’t interfere with your birthday weekend! Thanks so much for your post!

    • Michele Manning said:

      Glad to have made your day! Looking forward to next year. And thanks again for all the work you do.

  7. […] of theirs.  You should have seen my boundless confidence as I goaded my friend and fellow writer Michele Manning to take advantage of the “open mic” forum at a recent conference.  I kept thinking, […]

  8. Jennifer Butler Basile said:

    As I peruse past ASTAL events, I came across your post. How very wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

    • Michele Manning said:

      I guess we can call it an ‘oldie, but a goodie’! It was actually interesting reading it again after so many years. Thank you for that!

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