Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Latest Thoughts

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!

1 comment:

PJ Hoover said...

Yay that you're going to Vermont! It'll be so great.
Your agent said great voice which is huge. This is the number one thing agents and editors say they want above all other things, and if you've got that one down, then you're set!