Wednesday, September 5, 2018

2018 October Boosting Creativity Workshop

We were delighted to have Sara Sargent, Executive Editor at HarperCollins lead her workshop, Sparking Creativity, at our 2018 Children’s Writers of the Hudson Valley fall event. She was enthusiastic and fostered a fun learning environment. Below is a sampling of some of the topics that we discussed.

Before you start writing, think about what you are writing, why are you writing it, who is it for and what is your goal. We talked about why writers get stuck and how identifying what makes us stuck is the answer to solving it. If you are feeling mired in your writing progress below are some ways to stimulate your writing muscles.

Some external ways to boost your creativity include changing your environment, create a vision board of the story you want to write, help someone else with their project and get your brain off your problems to name a few.

Internal ways to spark creativity include journaling or seeing a therapist to awaken that inner child or stir that pot! These were only two of the multiple suggestions. I picked my favorites.

Sara discussed elements for a good beginning: sense of intrigue, strong sense of place, compelling voice, good writing, compelling character and one good device.


Other topics discussed were how to fix your beginning, errors on the first page, tangible and emotion objects of the story and writing exercises to encourage creativity.

I left with three pages of handwritten notes and a three-page handout from Sara that also included additional writing exercises.

Thank you, Sara, for spending your Saturday afternoon with us. We received numerous compliments and look forward to having you as an encore presenter in the near future.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

2018 June Conference

June 9, 2018, the Children’s Writers of the Hudson Valley celebrated its 6th annual writer’s conference with old and new writing friends at the Hampton Inn  Suites in the Hudson Valley. 
Photo by Doug Dundas

Our Keynote speaker was Jennifer Donnelly, a New York Times Bestselling author, who spoke of her writer’s journey. It was inspirational to hear how long and how hard she worked on her first novel (over 10 years!). There’s hope for all of us! 

  
She also hosted a workshop on writing historical novels and discussed how her research led to traveling as she wrote her first novel, A NORTHERN LIGHT, winner of the Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Book Prize, a Printz Honor, and named “One of the 100 Best Young Adult Book  of all Time” by TIME Magazine. 
 

Lesa Cline-Ransome, an award-winning  author, led a workshop on character exploration through observation, research and memory in non-fiction picture books. If you want your story to be authentic, research is crucial. A bonus to researching your facts is that it can stimulate your creative juices and lead to other ideas. The writing exercises were to write a story a 6-word story and write a first line based on a photo that she displayed. 

We broke for a delicious Panera's lunch, networking and bookstore. 


In the afternoon, Meredith Mundy, Executive Editor at Abrams 

Meredith Mundy
Appleseed, discussed the importance of the first line in your picture books. Your first line should leave the reader wondering what happened or why? The writing exercise was to take the first line from your manuscripts and rewrite them using the tips we learned in the workshop.                                

Bess Cozby
Bess Cozby, Editor at Tor/Forge Books,      led a workshop on world building in            fantasy, science fiction and dystopian novels. She discussed the power of perspective and how characters are shaped by their reactions to time, place and the choices that they make. The writing exercise involved putting your characters in difference environments and how character choices were related to past or present experiences. 
Gary Giolo and Susanna Reich

Our closing speakers were Susanna Reich, an award-winning author, and Gary Giolo, a New York Times Bestselling author on writing biographies for children and young teens. They discussed primary and secondary sources for research, different methods of research and not leaving the writing behind. They closed out the session with music and song.  


Additional manuscript critiques were done by Sarah LaPolla and Barbara Paulding.

Check out #CWHV for my tweets during the conference.

A special thanks to our faculty, Bess Cozby, Jennifer Donnelly, Gary Golio, Sarah LaPolla, Meredith Mundy, Barbara Paulding, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Susanna Reich; our book seller, Merritt Bookstore; the CWHV team and Kara Cerilli, an attendee who showed up with her camera and took pictures.

Our conference would not exist without the continued support from our hardworking attendees. The CWHV team thanks and appreciates you.

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“Thank you for organizing such a great, intimate conference. Please keep me on your email list. I would definitely attend future events. I was thrilled to meet Jennifer as I’ve been a fan of hers ever since I read Northern Lights.” Debbie St. Thomas, 2018 attendee.


Barbara Paulding
Sarah LaPolla