|Scott Meyer and|
In the pastoral town of Millbrook, Merritt Books is a beacon for lovers of the written word. Owned and run by Scott Meyer and his family, Scott can be found at many local events from the annual Literary Festival to hosting author signings in The Upstairs Gallery of the bookstore. This past Saturday (August 10th), as I have done for the past three years, I went to Merritt Books to attend Eileen Charbonneau's Elements of the Novel Writing Workshop.
|Eileen and attendee Robert.|
Throughout the morning and afternoon sessions the attendees were given exercises to do. What I really enjoy about these work sessions were the unexpected things. Our first work session centered on creating a scene in our WIP where setting was a character. I discovered during the second exercise of turning a "tell' into a "show" that one of my minor characters wanted to have a stronger presence in the story. In another session, Eileen chose one line or section from our individual manuscripts and had us rewrite it to "show" instead. Very insightful and productive! Another exercise had us treating our current work-in-progress as a movie script with three additional parts to follow and write at home.This exercise really had us 'opening' up our work and thinking deeply about it.
Included in the event's fee was a critique of our fifteen page manuscript which we had mailed earlier to Eileen. When I first saw my pages and all of the pencil marks, I didn't think my manuscript tanked or something bad. I actually smiled. I've never had anyone else match the level of Eileen's editing prowess (so far in my writing journey). She floored me once again with her keen eye and astute changes. After I went home and made the changes, the opening pages of my YA urban fantasy, Strays, had lost the fat of excess verbiage, the pace had quickened and the tension was heightened. Those are the pages we need to hook today's readers.
My favorite quote of the day from Eileen:
"Novel writing is a forgiving form."
What I highlighted in my notes:
"Watch your 'and' constructs." Eileen said to "carefully choose the right words and use them sparingly to convey our meaning."
What I REALLY loved learning TODAY:
Eileen said during the Draft Process writers need to do this to their novels:
1. Give it SOUND.
2. Give it SENSE.
3. Make it SING.
For information on Eileen's next workshop, check the calendar of events on Merritt Bookstore's website.
|Eileen introduces the authors|