I was at RI College yesterday for SCBWI and ASTAL's Encore! Event. It was a meaty workshop, offering writers of all levels great tools for improving their craft and marketing skills. I'd thank the wonderful committee for putting on this event, but that would be a bit awkward, since I was part of it. :-) But here's a quick overview.
Act 1: John Bell http://ozandends.blogstpot.com began with a workshop on plotting, explaining how the powerful and the plausible must be balanced in a plot. He offered techniques for getting past plotting roadblocks. For my work in progress, WITNESS TREE, I'll be looking for ways to make two story problems work against each other....Thanks, John!
Act 2: Mark Peter Hughes www.markpeterhughes.com led us through character development exercises, defining and shaping our characters through showing, dialogue, and voice. While I can show my character, and get her to talk, I'm going to need to work on that "voice" stuff...
Act 3: Padma Venkatraman www.climbingthestairsbook.com taught us how to write a terrific query letter that made an editor want to read more. So now I'm wishing I could snatch back the query I mailed out Friday, and tailor my bio more specifically to match the project...
Act 4: Sarah Shumway, recently editor at Dutton, currently Senior Editor at Katherine Tegen Books http://www.harpercollins.com, taught us how to make connections between good writing and writing that sells well in pitching our manuscripts to editors.
In speaking about current trends, she feels that vampire books are done, and she's seeing more romances that deal with other supernatural creatures. But she said that those who want to jump on this new trend are probably already too late.
*So here is my prediction for future trends in children's literature. Remember, you heard it first here! After the recent election, we'll be seeing a greater call for multicultural books. And with the downturn in the economy, there will be a move toward sweeter, gentler, even nostalgic children's books.