Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What I learned this semester

I want to start off this post saying that I'm going to my first writer's conference this Friday and Saturday! I'm kind of nervous, since in person I'm rather shy and don't usually approach people, but also really excited to hopefully meet new writers and learn more on how to better my writing. Anyone going to LDStorymaker's Conference this weekend, let me know in the comments! Hopefully I'll see you there. Now for the meat of my post.

This past semester I was lucky enough to get in a class of Writing for Children and Adolescents taught by Carol Lynch Williams (The Chosen One, Miles from Ordinary, Glimpse). We focused on writing the beginning of a MG or YA novel. And from this semester, I've seen my writing skyrocket with improvement. These are a few things I've learned or discovered in this class:

  • Sense of place. Looking back on my writing, I'll mention characters are at a baseball field, and make no reference to that baseball field again. Carol really helped me with learning to create a sense of place through descriptions and reminding readers as my characters are talking, that they're at a baseball field.
  • Write outside of your comfort zone. I generally write fantasy/sci-fi with a female narrator, and for this class I wrote a contemporary with a male first-person narrator. It was really hard and challenging for me, but I think that seeing how to work within a genre and narrator I wasn't as comfortable with made me learn more and then help me apply it to my preferred way of writing.
  • Voice. This is always tricky and sometimes alusive for most writers. Voice is hard. But in the class, I've found the importance of my own character's voice, and what makes it different from my own and any other character I've written.
  • The middle sucks for pretty much everyone, which is just comforting to me to know I'm not alone.
Anything interesting you've learned  lately? Have you had the opportunity to take a formal class in creative writing?


  1. The class sounds amazing, and I love the things you passed on in this post! Thanks for sharing and have fun at the conference :)

  2. Wow, that class sounds so helpful! And good for you for writing something out of your comfort zone--great idea. Have fun at the conference!

  3. Great lessons. I like to dabble in difference genres to develop my voice, but I haven't taken a class that would push me that direction. Oh I miss writing classes...

    I've been in the school of "plotting" lately. Awesome beginnings, driving conflicts, complicating the conflict and character reversals. All good stuff, but man! The more you learn, the more you realize you really are just an "apprentice".

  4. Ooh, have a great time at the writer's conference! It's intimidating to go by yourself, but writers are the coolest, friendliest folks. And don't forget that the majority of the people there are as nervous and shy as you are!

  5. That sounds great - I took a creative writing class last semester and it was amazing. I learned a lot and I think my writing has improved because of it. :) Have fun at the convention!

  6. Nope, you're no alone. I'm quite familiar with that sucky miccle.

    Have fun at the conference.


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