We're on our fourth consecutive snow day. That's about two too many for me. And guess what? It's SNOWING AGAIN. We're on our way to an additional four inches on top of the eight we got Tuesday. Ick.
But enough about the weather. Yesterday I got to do something FUN. I listened to Mary Kole's webinar titled Publish Your Children's or Teen Fiction in Today's Market. I had never participated in a webinar before. It's basically watching a power point presentation while listening to a lecture, all online. There's even a side box where you can submit questions. Mary had about ten minutes to answer a few questions during the webinar, but will answer all questions submitted in a follow up email. How cool is that?
I'm not going to try to rehash everything she said, but two things really hit home for me. (Okay, there were more than two, but I don't want to sit here and type all day.) The first thing she emphasized was the importance of critique partners. Get your work critiqued, and critique for others! I confess I haven't done this yet. I guess I've been secretly afraid that once I get another writer to critique my work I'll get a note back simply saying, "Don't quit your day job. Ever." I know I need to take the plunge and get it over with. Yikes.
Another thing Mary talked about was what separates hopefuls from published authors. She listed character, voice, and authority as being the key differences. Characters should be a mirror and a window for the reader. Characters are what makes a reader care. They are the portal to the story. Voice is a hard one to explain, but she suggested we read our work out loud. Does it sound dry or clunky? Like a business memo? Too adult? Then there is authority. I admit this one threw me at first. We must have authority and confidence in our writing. When our writing is good, the reader won't notice. Our writing must be seamless. We have to know what we're doing. I confess I don't always know what I'm doing. Some days it feels like I don't have a clue. But I'm learning. I'm getting there.
I hope all of you are getting there, too.