On the second day of the OCCBWW conference, Noa Wheeler from Henry Holt presented. She was lively and funny, and thankfully did not need a microphone. (The sound system at OCCBWW was awful. It popped and scratched.)
The stuff in [brackets] are my thoughts
-Learn to Laugh at Yourself
-The Scariest Moment is Just Before You Start Writing
-Write something-anything-to open the writing door
[I love this following piece of advice] ** Write about something you know really well, but write about it as if you have never seen it before. Approach everything as if for the first time [this forces you to focus on details] the interaction between the subject and writer makes it new.
Turn OUTWARD- listen to dialogue- note it- change one word to extrapolate- layer it
Ask questions about things around you to help you arrive at something new
“What if?” take something ordinary so it does not resemble the original at all
Research –[but not everything. Enough to get the details accurate].
Make a date to share writing with writing buddies [Open mic, write-ins]
Do writing sprints- for an hour on writing. Just write without a plan. Do NOT reread and revise[kind of like we do for NANO]
Set word ;limits ie 1000 a day no matter what [again Nano]
If you are in the middle of a story, novel and you’re stuck- switch writing locations [go outside if you’re in or vice versa]
Change position inside your story. Better to write SOMETHING than nothing
Make a slight change to alter the story [ ex. used in Charlotte’s Web, If White had been stuck, , Instead of Where is Papa going with that axe, he could have asked where is MAMA going? [See how it changes the perspective?]
Any story is a series of questions and answers
Skip over what gives you trouble and go back to it later [I will often make notes in my own drafts like “Fix This Later”]. This helps preserve momentum.
If you write drafts in longhand, use a PC or vice versa. Helps you use a different part of your brain.
-Moving physically can get your mind moving
-Forward motion is also rhythmic- like defibrillating your writing.
-Read or watch something outside your genre
-Don’t revise right away [Cindy S.!!!!]
-Ask “What more do I need?”
-Read out loud- you can hear the verbs and nouns
-Don’t back away from the jugular
-Reverse outline- outline mss as if you haven’t written it yet
-Get out of your own head
Later in the week Ms Wheeler had some submission advice, but I will share that at the end of this series when I go through the agent and other editor’s submission suggestions. First we write, do massive revisions and editing THEN we worry about sending it somewhere.