On Sunday, May 1, I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop at GrubStreet’s Muse & the Marketplace conference. Here’s a snippet of what it was about:
“Character” refers to the people in your book and keeping them real in word, deed, and circumstance. But “character” also refers to the need for the writer to exhibit true character in the crafting of the stories s/he tells. Attendees will explore how to write through fear and with empathy and compassion to tell the stories that are either not told enough or not told at all. This requires risk-taking and a bit of bravery, especially in our highly-charged political environment. Come prepared for a frank and generative discussion.
Of course, with this description, some attendees were a little surprised when my talk focused almost entirely on writing diverse characters. I’m happy to say that I didn’t lose very many listeners after the first five minutes and, even better, everyone in the room participated throughout the talk and after during the 30-minute discussion session.
Note that I did not say 30-minute Q&A. I’ve done my fair share of programming, especially around talking about diversity in children’s literature, and I’ve found that opening up avenues for attendees to not only speak with the presenter on the same level, but also communicate openly with their fellow writers (or agents, marketers, editors, librarians, etc.) is imperative to generative conversations. Everyone should feel heard and be able to contribute their knowledge and experiences.
After the workshop, which ended exactly on time (thank you very much), I promised attendees that I would share the many resources I used to create my presentation. Of course, I want these resources to go beyond the conference attendees so…eat your heart out, readers! And a huge thank you goes out to Michaela Whatnall, one of my amazing spring interns who did a lot of digging and compiling to make these resources shareable.Read More›