Friday, July 2, 2010

Camp 3 (Sunday morning) at the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic Novel Revision Retreat

We woke early in the Big Meadows campground despite our late night s’more party (lol! ended by 10 PM). The clouds hugged the Blue Ridge Mountains, or so we thought. Within half an hour the sky was clearing and the day turned sunny.

Over breakfast we talked about what a great party it had been. Though only three of the participants at our writing retreat attended, among them was Alisha Niehaus, Senior Editor from Dial Books for Young Readers.

In her Last Chapter session, Alisha mentioned the standard elements of tying up the narrative and emotional arcs. But also how authors can create a little mystery by opening doors for their characters in the final chapter. This engages the reader’s imagination at guessing what will happen next. Alisha suggests your think of the last chapter as a playground where you and the reader can have a little fun.

Other tidbits gleaned from Alisha on writing: salt heavily with pungent verbs and lightly with peppery adjectives, coming of age is often your focus, and your plot should move the characters through their emotional arc by building events and challenges.

I was very glad I attended the retreat and would recommend it. But I personally suggest you camp. It adds flavor to the retreat.


Jennifer Major said...

That sounds wonderful, Joan! Thanks for sharing.

M.F. Atkins said...

Camping is an awesome idea. I chose not to go to the retreat because of the expense of the hotel plus the conference was too much. Camping would actually make it affordable (and LOADS of fun).