I’ve been brainstorming topics for seminars that would be useful to you, giving an editor’s perspective on topics specific to writing for children and young adults and to writing SF/F for that audience. I’ve got several topics in mind–and plan on repeating the worldbuilding and beginnings seminars, as well–and I’m working on ways to host an internet-based seminar on these topics so that attendees aren’t restricted to locals.
I’d also like to take the in-person seminars on the road, however. I was thinking that hosting one in Idaho Falls, for example, might be able to reach the many writers in Idaho who can’t always make it down to Salt Lake or Provo for Utah-Idaho SCBWI events. It’s also conceivable that I could do a seminar in Tooele, Salt Lake, Vernal, or St. George, Utah, or possibly even Vegas, if there were enough interest to fill a session. If you live in any of these places and would like for me to come do a seminar in your area (or even further out in the Intermountain West, Pacific Northwest, or Southwest), I’d be glad to talk about how to make that happen.
Here are some of the ideas I’ve got bubbling in my brain. Please comment and suggest other things you’d like to learn directly from an editor. All seminars will include writing/brainstorming exercises to address the specific topics, as well as workshopping time on your own work, allowing everyone in the class to get each others’ suggestions as well as my opinion on ways the piece can be improved.
(First of all, the obvious ones–a split of the one I did back in March into two more specific topics, and the worldbuilding seminar that we’ll be doing a week from Saturday. Then other new ideas, which look generic but will always be discussed in the context specifically of SF/F for young readers.)
- The basics of writing SF/F for children and young adults (and how to convince editors and agents that you’re good at it)
- Hitting the right voice
- Point of view: first person, third person, or omniscient?
- Building sympathy for your characters
- Crafting a story your audience won’t be able to put down
- Current trends in SFF for children and young adults
- Hook your reader: How to hook an editor and, later, a young reader within your first three chapters
- Worldbuilding in MG and YA SF/F
- Writing a killer plot: the structure of your story (lots to explore there — making promises, raising the stakes, internal and external arcs, etc.)
- Knowing your market (audience and the business of writing)
- Being a partner in the publicity of your book
- School visits
- Social networking
- Line editing yourself: How to get down to the nitty-gritty and make your sentences sparkle
What else? Please feel free to re-suggest things that we might have discussed in earlier posts–I need to do a search for what people have suggested in the past and I’d rather have them all right here in one place to reference. Also, feel free to suggest ways that an online seminar might be accomplished. I’ve had several suggestions, from a private page here on the website that only attendees have the password to (which are more text seminars than live), to Skype, to Go to Meeting (which is something like $50 a month, which seems a bit expensive, but I haven’t looked deeper to see if there are different levels of service that might suit a more sporadic seminar schedule–though perhaps we might be able to do one once a month and then it wouldn’t be an issue!), to the examples set by a couple of online writing workshop sites, and I’m open to more possibilities so that I can choose the best option for what I want to accomplish.