Now that I have this fantastic new race-car in my grip (high-speed internet, that is), I can actually think about blogging.
I'm starting the MFA program at Vermont College next month, and I'm both nervous and excited. Nervous because new things always challenge me; excited because I have definite goals in mind, as a writer and as a person.
A few weeks back, I had to send 20 pages of a manuscript that I was still working on, but had no intention of working on after sending in the 20 pages. Happily for me, I'd been struggling with a middle grade "boy" book for 6 months, and Alyssa (my agent) told me that, once again, I'd missed the mark - great voice, she said, terrific character, but poor pacing/plotting. And there you have my struggle as a writer: plotting.
So, when Kathi Appelt, whom I know here in Texas, encouraged me to apply to Vermont, I decided I needed it - I need to be guided in this plotting thing. After all, what makes a story great? What drives you on as a reader? A great plot.
(Speaking of which, I just finished Kathi's THE UNDERNEATH, and it is one of the best books I've read in years. I'd lobby for a Newbery for her, if I could.) And there's an example of master plotting technique, right there: fast paced, holds your attention, constant threat that is realistic, and true, deep emotion.
So, off Barty went to Vermont, to see what he can see!