I’ve never been to a writer’s conference.
I want to go. I think they sound amazing. You get to network with other writers, agents, and editors. You go to craft workshops and learn about techniques that inspire you to write and revise. But you also leave your family for several days, and have to pay for lodging and travel in addition to the cost of the conference. And when you have four little kids and are renovating your house, it’s hard to justify that time and expense.
When my friend Julie Kingsley told me she was on the team lauching The Manuscript Academy, I knew this was the kind of conference that people like me could actually attend. The Manuscript Academy is a an offshoot of Manuscript Wish List, and is an online writing conference, so you get the inspiration, techniques, and craft of a traditional conference, but you can do it from your home.
Check out their website to learn more — you’ll see that I’m part of the faculty.
Julie K. and I just recorded the video for my class/lecture, and we had a blast. We did it right here in my house (my dogs say hi!), so I think there’s a really cool intimate quality, because it’s me in my home talking to you in your home.
Here are some of the things I talked about:
- Word count in picture books: what’s the sweet spot? What do you do if your manuscript is 100 words? What do you do if it’s 3,000 words?
- Adding a surprising element to make your story stand out in today’s crowded marketplace.
- Plot arc and character.
- Why you need to write terrible stories.
- What Snappsy looked like from first draft all the way through to finished book.
- The (difficult! cramp-inducing!) process of writing and revising The Society of Underrepresented Animals.
- How to translate picture-book-writing skills to writing middle grade novels, plus some middle grade revision techniques.
There’s lots of information in there, plus visuals, and lots of book recommendations, because I can’t help but recommend books.
The Manuscript Academy starts on November 5, 2016 and you have access for 30 days.
I’m doing some one-on-one live first-page critique sessions too! (That’s where we video chat or talk on the phone about your manuscript, which will be so fun.)
If you’ve been thinking, “I wish Julie would just sit on a couch in her house and talk writing and books at me for 45 minutes,” (or an hour? I talked for a long time, we’ll see what it gets edited down to), then you should sign up.