The Montana chapter of SCBWI recently held The Young Adult Voice with Terry Trueman/Spend an Afternoon with an Agent workshop. In attendance were literary agent Mark McVeigh and Prinz Award winning author Terry Trueman. Fabulous author and regional advisor for the Montana chapter, Michele Corriel, kindly offered to share her take-aways from this special day.
On May 22nd The Montana Region of SCBWI conducted a one-day workshop with YA Printz Honor Award winning author Terry Trueman and Literary Agent Mark McVeigh, of the McVeigh Literary Agency.
The workshop was held at the Bozeman Public Library, a new building -- very green, very gorgeous, full of art and natural lighting, a snowy spring day in Montana. (Yes, I said SNOW!)
Terry gave a hands-on writing workshop as well as an informal "pick my brain as long as you want" session that went on for over an hour. Terry is such an entertaining and insightful speaker -- everyone loved him! He was very generous with his time and hung out with everyone after the session. Here are some gems from his talk:
- Sit down for at least an hour a day and write, that’s how you find your voice.
- A plot is a mechanism to tell a story, find out why a story needs to be told and tell it.
- The dreaded Middle of a story: think of the theme and go back to the character.
- Don’t be afraid to step away from the manuscript for a week and then re-read it from the beginning.
- Any kind of writing that is good will have to be revised – a lot.
- There are three things important to being a successful writer: talent, persistence, and luck.
- Separate yourself from your work.
- Become a professional – know the industry, make contacts with other writers, meet editors and agents by going to conferences.
- If you submit a synopsis to an agent or editor, make it as tight as you can.
- When writing a query to an agent be sure to follow the guidelines on the website.
- If you’re writing a query to an editor, do your homework and mention a book the editor worked on.
- Send your best work.
- Don’t let the market influence you, let it inform you.
Michele Coriel is an award-winning journalist, columnist and freelance writer. During her eleven years as a newspaper journalist, she garnered First Place awards from the Montana Newspaper Association and was recognized by the National Newspaper Association. During her years in New York City, Michele was executive editor and publisher of an arts monthly magazine covering performance art, music, film, books and visual artists. Michele's interview with William Burroughs was published in 2001 by The University of Mississippi Press in their series “Literary Conversations," and two articles appeared in Faces of Freedom (Pioneer Press, 2002). Her poetry has been published in The Lower East Side Anthology, The Grey Rock Review, Cover Arts New York, and in a work by the Fusion Arts Movement in the Whitney Museum and Museum of Modern Art's Permanent Book Collection. She is the creator of the Poetry Dispenser, a Montana arts project, which disperses community poetry in the form of a paper towel dispenser. As a freelance writer she has had articles published in Western Art and Architecture, Home, Jack and Jill Magazine, US Kids, Twist, Horizon Air Magazine, The Big Sky Journal, Montana Magazine, The High Country Independent Press, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Bicycle Magazine, At Home, Fencelines, Outside Bozeman, Distinctly Montana, Montana Parent and others. Michele was awarded the National Children’s Empowerment Award for a newspaper series she did on bullying in the schools. Michele is the Regional Advisor for the three-state area called the Big Sky Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Michele's upcoming middle grade novel Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery will be released in July.
-courtesy The Mark McVeigh Agency