Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Highlights Full Novel Workshop--Trimming Your Word Count

I'm here in Boyd's Mill, PA, staying in a little rustic cabin, eating in a barn (actually a really nice facility just called that) and working hard to revise one of my MG novels.

We're getting great advice from Sarah Aaronson, Nancy Werlin, Amanda Jenkins, Nicole Valentine and Rob Jenkins.

Here are three great tips from Nancy's fabulous class on artful cutting (trimming and tightening your manuscript):

 Find a great image that can multitask. This is my term for the kind of details Nancy directed us to use, Instead of using the first simile or metaphor that comes to mind, make them count. Is there one great detail that can tell several things about your character or setting?

Combine. You don't need three scenes to illustrate one point. Cherry pick the great details from each and combine these into one good scene.

Make each scene, and each paragraph within the scene, count. Nancy quoted David Mamet: "Any scene...which does not both advance the plot, and stand alone (that is dramatically, but itself, and on its own merits) is either superfluous or incorrectly written."

By looking carefully at each scene, paragraph, and detail, Nancy said she got a 60,000 word manuscript down to 45,000 words.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pitch Wars Consolation Prize

I found out about Pitch Wars toward the very end, so as you can guess, I entered last minute too. [New Goal: Look at Twitter more than once a month.]  I thought I'd done my research thoroughly, but I clearly didn't, as you can see by the bonus award I got from these kind pitch mentors, Stacey Lee and Stephanie Garber:


I also got a nice, personalized rejection from the other mentor I submitted to. The mentors were so kind that it really makes me want to try again next year.

And to do a better job keeping up on contest dates!