January KidLit Notes

It’s January. The month of resolutions, of rule-making, of blank slates.

Except that I don’t like to make resolutions in January. I think that having been a student and now teacher for so many years has shifted my resolve toward late August, when the pencils are sharpest and the school year holds so much possibility. This month always feels like a bit of a slog to me. Slow-blink waking from a winter dream that we find ourselves still in.

Resolving to write, to read, to Be Creative…they seem like forced propositions. But resolving to be part of community, to listen and truly pay attention again, to refocus on what matters; these are intentions I can get behind.

With hope for all the good writing the new year holds, we gathered in January to discuss our work. Patricia is flying through a new draft of her WIP, and trying her hand at writing in multiple perspectives. She finds it challenging to distinguish characters from one another with voice alone. She’s also wondering how to make the big picture work, and how to make the reader’s experience seamless.

Isn’t this the magic of getting lost in an incredible book? But try writing a novel that pulls this trick, and we quickly realize how much work it takes to look effortless. The experienced novel-writers in the room jumped in with ideas about sticky notes and neon-colored index cards, charting of characters and following of threads.

Sheryl read another draft of her picture book parody of a classic tale, and is finding success on many levels. Her work reminded us to have fun with language, to bring our cultural heritage into our work, and to be playful!

We laugh, wordsmith, and nitpick (but nicely). Join us for more Kidlit Critique in 2018.

Melissa & Nanci

For inspiration: loved this piece by Tina Welling, JHW Conference faculty, and author of the wonderful book Writing Wild, which holds much wisdom on letting words flow.

On Intuition and Writing by Tina Welling

Tap into your writing intuition this year!