I know I promised photos of Candace Havens and Britta Coleman giving their workshop and/or at their booksigning last weekend, but I haven't loaded them yet. And, to be honest, I was so caught up in their talk, I took very few. But I promise to post what I have soon. Stay tuned... So why the haunted house, you ask? When I was writing my Young Adult novel "Picture This," I ran across this picture and I couldn't believe it! This was the haunted house in my story. Right up to the tip top of that awesome, creepy turret. I finally turned in to my agent the latest new and improved version of the manuscript, she read it, and she's sending out into the world of editors either tomorrow or next week! So in honor of Tansy, Papa Dan and Millicent Moon (the characters in "Picture This"), here's a look at their house. Wish them luck finding a publishing house, as well. (Fingers crossed tightly.)
Back to Britta and Candy's workshop. Britta spoke about writing a "break-out" book, and Candy spoke about writing fast, getting that first draft down on paper before becoming hung-up in trying to make it perfect. They both talked about "writer karma." Reaping what you sow, so to speak. I needed reminders about all of those things, and I wasn't disappointed. Some things that stuck with me: To treat my writing like the career it is, rather than a hobby. To honor the work, devote the time and attention to the story it deserves. To study the craft. To find the essential element in my writer "voice" that makes it unique, and to push that button as hard as I can. To think positive and give myself permission to write a crappy first draft. (A crappy first draft can be fixed, a blank page is blank.) To send the internal editor on vacation while writing the first draft. As for "karma" -- To give back to the community that supports me and to be an inspiration to other writers by reaching out to them, (even when I don't feel like it) by sharing what I've learned.
In short, it was a great weekend, and we even managed to squeeze in some girl talk and a glass or two of wine.
On the reading front -- I recently finished a YA novel by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor called "Sang Spell." It was fantastic -- one of those stories that really makes you think and see things in a different way. If you don't read young adult novels, I urge you to give them a try. These days, a lot of them tend to cross over into adult territory and I've discovered many wonderful stories and beautiful writing in YA stories. This weekend, I plan to start reading a book recommended to me by a friend called "The Book of Dead Birds," by Gayle Brandeis. It's a couple of years old and is about a "Young woman's struggle to come to terms with her mother's terrible past while she searches for her own place in the world." I'll let you know how I like it.