Monday, July 25, 2011

My summer vacation...writer style

Although my summer has been deprived of writerly events thus far like ALA and ComiCon, I have been able to live vicariously through the blogs of fellow writer friends who were there, and am excited for SCBWI LA, which is right around the corner. That event changed my life last year, introducing me to wonderful people and instilling me with confidence and strength I didn't even know I had to press forward and pursue this crazy dream.

I have spent this summer tweaking, revising, querying like a madwoman, working on not one but two WIP, and above all, reading. I have probably read close to 75 YA novels this summer, and while part of it was just to know what is popular, what is getting published and why, it has been the best education in writing I could ever hope for. There is much to be learned from both good AND bad writing. When I read, I will often sit there with spiral notebook and pen in hand, scribbling down passages where the author described something so perfectly, or wrote a witty comment that made me snort out loud. When I see how someone does something well, when faced with a similar situation in my writing, I can refer back to that and see how to incorporate those descriptions and word choices into my own to make it stronger. One of the biggest things I've learned is about showing, not just telling. Writing a line of dialogue followed by "he said" is far less effective than writing the line of dialogue preceeded or followed by a description of the expression on the character's face or what was in his/her head at the moment. The reader can still tell who is doing the talking but they are drawn deeper into the story and the emotions of the moment by this one small change. (Thank you Stephanie Perkins, especially, for that one!)

The agent search still continues, and this summer has shown a flurry of interest, which has been equally exciting and nerve-wracking. It's hard to keep in perspective sometimes just how long this road is, and that you need to keep the three P's in mind: Positivity, Persistence and Patience. I think the last one might be the hardest for me. I'm from a long line of impatient women. :)

Summer is winding down, and soon my kids will be back at school and quiet will return again, restoring my house to my writing sanctuary where I can blast my playlist and write uninterrupted by the strains of Disney Channel or Xbox or making lunches. I'm trying to savor the moments in between with my kids, because truly I learn so much from them and infuse it into my writing as well. They are ten and almost sixteen, and I am blessed with the rich opportunity of being able to re-live those ages again daily through their stories and experiences (minus the acne and the bitchy girls).

I am savoring every minute of the journey, and eagerly await the next chapter.