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).