Monday, July 20, 2015

The Art and Craft of Children’s Book Writing: my recap at last

photograph by Krista Dondero Rausin

On July 5, I arrived in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard for a week-long workshop with Emma Dryden. It was held at Noepe Center for Literary Arts, a non-profit organization that offers both writing residencies and workshops.  I was delighted to be part of the first Thursdays in the Garden at Noepe when they open the doors to the public for evenings of music, readings and camaraderie.

On the first day of the workshop, Emma led us through a discussion of first pages. I was confident about my opening when I walked in. Since then, I’ve rewritten it at least six times, and it’s not done yet. The second day was devoted to voice. Emma gave us worksheets and exercises to help us discover the unique voices of our characters. I have worked through the questionnaire for every character in my novel. I learned much about the people who have lived in my brain for over a year now. The third day was devoted to world building. How hard could that be? My characters live in modern day Michigan. Again the workshop and worksheets pointed out many ways I can enrich my novel. The fourth day was all about revision. I plan to leap into these techniques during my upcoming writing retreat with The World’s Greatest Critique Group. The last day was questions and answers, but not until we delved into the inner reasons why we wrote our stories.

Best of all, I spent a week at a beautiful place, got to know nine fantastic writers, and had the privilege of being tutored by a genius editor who knows how to get authors to dig deeper and find new meaning in their writing.

And I ate some lobster.

Thanks to Krista Dondero Rausin for generously sharing her photograph. My camera is broken, so I have no pictures of hydrangeas, lighthouses or sailboats.

8 comments:

Charlie Barshaw said...

Hooray for Emma Dryden, and to you for expending the time, energy and money to attend her workshop.

Boo for the broken camera. I'm positive you'd have captured many an intriguing sight.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Thanks, Charlie. The workshop was fantastic. I mailed my camera back to Canon. Now I wait and see.

TimInMich said...

Sounds wonderful, Ann. Thanks for sharing it.

Kristin Lenz said...

Sounds wonderful! I'm looking forward to working with Emma - nervous too! And impatient to get started. ;)

Ann Finkelstein said...

Kristin: I'm so glad you decided to go for it. I can't wait to hear about it.

Mark Maciolek said...

Ann,
You have a wonderful personality that comes out in your writing. I'll send you a few photos of the Edgartown landscape.
M~

Ann Finkelstein said...

Thanks, Mark. I'll post them with photo credits to you. I sent my camera back to Canon for repair. They had to fix both the camera and the lens.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Tim: I just realized I never replied to your comment. You would have loved this workshop, and the island. I hope to see you in Dexter in the fall.