If you’re a YA or middle-grade writer planning to go to the New England SCBWI conference in Springfield, Massachusetts, May 3–5, I wanted to tell you two things:
Thing One: Registration opens today! You can register for the conference starting at 11am EST today (February 6).
Thing Two: And if you register, you’ll have a chance to sign up for a craft workshop with me. I’ll be teaching two workshops…
On Saturday afternoon, I’ll be teaching a two-hour workshop for novelists focusing on sculpting gripping, promising opening chapters:
F6 ~ Killer First Chapters with Nova Ren Suma (Pro-Track)
The first chapter of your novel can make or break you: The way you open your story will work to keep a reader (or agent, or editor!) feverishly turning your pages… or not. In this studio class, we will read all the first chapters ahead of time and discuss each student’s opening pages. We will ask questions such as: Did you start at the true start of your story? Is there a stronger way to hook your reader? What does this opening make you want and expect from the story? We will focus on the hook of a brilliant first paragraph, pacing and when to reveal information, and how to close out your first chapter leaving the reader gasping for more. We will also experiment with a writing exercise for first paragraphs, to see how shifting and re-imagining the opening lines can reveal new and exciting possibilities. For YA and middle-grade writers with novels in-progress.
Focus: Writing, Category: MG, YA, Audience: Int/Experienced (Pro-Track)
And on Sunday afternoon, I’ll be teaching another two-hour intensive focusing on setting and place in fiction:
L2 ~ Place as Character with Nova Ren Suma
A strong sense of place in your YA or middle-grade novel can work to bring your novel to vivid life. This intensive will feature examples of memorable settings in published YA and middle-grade books as points of inspiration and reveal how the story for my own novel, IMAGINARY GIRLS, came from the real-life place where it was set. This workshop will also feature hands-on writing exercises and prompts to strengthen the place of your story and lead you to experiment with building setting description into scenes that can be seen and heard and felt with all the senses—setting that works in perfect balance against dialogue and action. Setting can be a strength even in contemporary realistic novels set in everyday places such as high schools and cities and towns we know. This intensive will inspire you to treat your setting with as much care and attention as your central characters.
Focus: Writing, Category: MG, YA, Audience: Intermediate
When you register, you choose which intensives you want—space is limited.
If you’re headed to NESCBWI this spring, I hope you’ll consider taking a workshop with me! I’ll be at the conference Friday through Sunday, and there will be two book signings, too.