Friday, September 11, 2015

Shop Talk: Notes from the Teen Author Carnival (2014 ed.)

Here it is. My write-up from the Time after Time panel at the Teen Author Carnival way back in 2014. This is still a mess of words but let it be known that it was in even worse shape before it turned into what you will see below…

On time as a way to structure your novel: Time can be a way to bracket the story, provide a framework, and allow you to focus your intensity – whether it is 5 summers or 24 hours or 365 days.

On time and plot development: When you're a teenager certain people can come in at the right moment and spark a big change – so huge shifts can happen in a very short period of time.

On plotting: Jennifer E. Smith and Gayle Forman are pantsers – they write pars to remember for later but in general like to explore as they write: "Keep it open so you can be surprised by your characters and not box yourself in." Tiffany Schmidt writes her endings first so that she knows what she's writing toward; she writes out of order and uses Scrivner to put together. She writes dialogue and goes back and adds description later, and she uses initials as placeholders in dialogue because dialogue rolls fast for her.

On research: Research = weird Google searches. Asking people about their experiences. Telling people you are an author doing research makes people want to tell you things. Road trips and travels. Riding an elevator up and down a bunch of times, sitting on the elevator floor to feel the proportions.

Gayle Forman on characters: What starts a novel is when a character comes alive, becomes real – they are within you but they still surprise you. When you don't have to craft them. They start to come alive on their own.

Lauren Morrill on characters: "I am the puppet master and you will dance for me." A lot of my first drafts of characters are too much like me. Sometimes you just have to let them out of the box.

When you are developing a character (or when they are developing themselves), how do you decide what to keep and what parts of them fall by the wayside?

Jennifer E. Smith: Revision, towards the end. Sometimes you have to write details that help you keep things moving. And then revision comes around.

Gayle Forman: Sometimes you have to read your book aloud. You can't hide from the parts that aren't working when you read it aloud.

Tiffany Schmidt: Have a folder that says Things You Can't Let Go Of. It's easier to leave it out of your book when you acknowledge that it's important.

No comments:

Post a Comment