Last weekend I attended a Children’s Authors’ Bootcamp, led by Laura Backes, of the Children’s Book Insider, and award-winning author Linda Arms White (Too Many Pumpkins, Comes a Wind, and I Could Do That). The Bootcamp was geared for new and intermediate level writers.
Since becoming a member of the Children’s Book Insider, I have wanted to attend one of Laura and Linda’s Bootcamps, but they were usually held out west. I was thrilled that this Bootcamp was scheduled in Charlotte NC, where my daughter lives. I had a great excuse to go.
There were about 24 of us in attendance. Topics covered were:
- Generating story ideas
- Creating characters
- Plot development
- Point of view
- Show, don’t tell,
- Description and setting
- Rhythm and rhyme
- Plot outline
- First sentence/first paragraph
- To market: formatting, cover and query letters, synopsis
We received an excellent packet of handouts that included a list of recommended children’s books and professional “how to” books. On both days, there was group work that involved putting what we learned into practice.
Linda read two of her own books, Too Many Pumpkins and I Could Do That, stopping to point out the elements of her “Three Act Structure,” which she developed as a way to outline her stories and stay on point during writing. I found this particularly helpful. Linda also told us the reason she wrote those stories. I love hearing the “story” behind the story, don’t you?
On the second day, Laura and Linda listened to the opening sentence/paragraph of one of our own manuscripts and gave helpful feedback.
There are three more Bootcamps scheduled: May 1-2 in Chicago, June 26-27 near Denver, CO, and sometime in October in Seattle, WA. If you are able to attend one, go!
FYI: Laura Backes and her husband, Jon Bard, started the Children’s Book Insider twenty years ago. You will be amazed at the amount and quality of information provided on their web site (www.CBIClubhouse.com). It’s loaded with articles, podcasts, videos, links and message boards all centered on writing for children. What are you waiting for? Sign up now, and…