I’m excited for the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference in June. (See wifyr.com for more details) In preparation, I’ve been madly working on a new YA story.
I’ll be taking a class by the fabulous Martine Leavitt. (She wrote Keturah and Lord Death, Heck Superhero, Dollmage, and many other award winning books.)
Each of the 13 members in her class will be submitting their first 20 pages in a few weeks. These pages will be critiqued in class, both by the teacher and class members. Martine was kind enough to give us a heads-up of what they’ll be looking for:
- Do we identify with the viewpoint character? Do we care about him or her?
- Is the reader allowed deep enough into the viewpoint character to know him or her?
- Do the secondary characters rise above stereotypes?
- Is the point of view consistent? Does the form fit the content?
- Is the setting well established?
- Is there a satisfactory balance between dialogue and narrative?
- Do we find figurative language? A distinct voice?
- Does the opening hook the reader?
- Do we know what the main character wants? Is there a plot trajectory?
- Is the conflict clear? Is it a conflict that matters?
- Does each scene advance the plot of reveal character?
As I've gone back and reworked (and reworked, and reworked) my first 20 pages, this has been a huge help. I basically have to take one question at a time. Also, my critiquing group has been amazing.
I can't wait for the conference to come, and I know there's so much to learn.
How have you prepared for a conference? Which teachers have been your favorites and why?