Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You cannot do this alone...

I gave my first writing workshops for the year this week. It was a small group of eager young students but we got on just fine and by the end of the second session things were humming along. Always a good sign - I got asked if I would be interested in taking these sessions again in the future. Its nice to have got out of the starting blocks for 2011.

I attended another committee meeting for the Spinning Tales Hui/Conference today. A lot has been done and there is a lot still to do. It is going to be fabulous. Folks if you have not already registered, you should. If you are a kiwi serious about writing/illustrating for children then you can't afford not to go. We have a large contingent of NZ publishers attending and several from Australia as well. We are offering pitching sessions where you can tell a publisher about your book and hopefully convince them to publish you. We have workshops and plenty of opportunities for you to meet other writers and illustrators at varying stages of their careers. This is something I encourage all my students to do - make friends with other writers and illustrators. No one else can understand the demands, the highs and lows, and the ins and outs of the book business. I would not have achieved as much without my writer friends. We share, support, encourage, prod and commiserate. No one else can understand what you are going through like they can. Come and connect with the kiwi children's book world from April 1st to 3rd this year at Kings School, Remuera.

Yesterday as I wrestled with the topic of 'voice' in my workshop this post from Janet Reid would have been handy. The concept of 'voice' is elusive but your book will not fly without it. The closest I can come to a definition myself is saying it is the 'personality' of the story (not to be confused with the personality of the main character although he/she too must have a) personality and b)'voice'). The difficult thing is it is not something you can easily learn or add. Sometimes the only time it is mentioned is when it is not there. Have you found yours yet?

And as you contemplate submitting your work to publishers and/or agents this year go check out this brief yet excellent run down on what you should (and shouldn't) be putting in your letter to the publisher. A blurb is not a synopsis or jacket copy either.


Pen said...

Wish I could make it to the conference but don't think it'll be a happening thing for me this year.

It is great to see conferences of this sort happening in NZ.

Will it be held again next year?

Melinda Szymanik said...

Pen - I think the plan is to have one in Christchurch in two years time