Take it away, Bruce!
The writing gods must be smiling on me. Last year I sat in Ann’s WIFYR workshop and this summer I get to be her assistant again. This will be my seventh WIFYR and every conference I’ve attended has been refreshing, inspiring, and informative.
Ann’s plan for this workshop is to have participants share and critique 20 pages of a manuscript. She will guide her instruction based on what comes out of this. Critique is the heart of the WIFYR morning sessions. In these intense sessions, each writer gets specific input, particular to the project they are working on. In addition to Ann’s recommendations, there are other concerned novelists asking for clarification, making suggestions, and offering opinions. As writers, we develop a tunnel-visioned view of our story. Outside eyes, neutral and unbiased, can see things we, who are so connected to the tale, cannot. Even when the work of others is being critiqued, your knowledge of the craft grows. Participating in critiquing deepens your own understanding of the writing process. Morning workshops at WIFYR truly are amazing.
From the critiques, Ann will custom her instruction. She did this well last summer, covering character, plot, and setting. The thing that has since resonated with me is her thoughts on grounding. As writers, we have a clear vision of our characters and the world they inhabit. Our readers do not and the key to effective writing is in sharing that view with readers. Establishing your setting is the first ingredient to grounding the reader. There must be no mistake about when and where the story is set. With each scene change, we must insure the reader is with us before our people play out the action. The same grounding goes for the characters. Readers can never have the intimacy you have for the characters, but they do need a sense of each person, their inner psychy and rationale for the way they behave.
Though she has written PB to YA, this year Ann will focus on the YA genre. She will also address issues that confront all writers, even the most experienced of authors. Follow this link for a full description of her class.
As always, the agents and editors visit each workshop. They share their contact info and query expectations. Most importantly, they value your participation and commitment to writing. They see you as serious and worthy of consideration. The effort elevates you above the thousands adding to their slush pile.
Do yourself a favor. Spend a week at WIFYR and be amazed. Ann creates a safe and comfortable environment in which you share, develop, and improve your story. Join ten or twelve other like-minded writers as we cheer each other on and strive to make every story the best it can be. It’s truly, a magical experience.