I wrote a little bit about the conference on my critique group’s blog–the wild writers. There I focused mostly on YA and New Adult. Here I’d like to share some thoughts from the two intensives I attended. The morning session was with Executive Editor Krista Marino (Delacorte Press/Random House) on world building. She asked us to send a brief paragraph about our world and any rules of magic which I had to come up with on the spot since I only had five pages written  :-).

First we went through 10 elements to know about our world. Here are three that really got me thinking:

  • Is my world open or closed? In other words, is there an awareness of and interaction with a larger world or are we confined to a smaller world, such as in her example, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I identified mine as more open, since it will take place in different areas of the same land, but it won’t got beyond the borders I’ve set for it.
  • How many cultures are there? Not only how many, but what are the belief systems of each and how might that affect your story when/if these cultures interact/clash? I won’t have different cultures per se, but I do have different communities in different areas who value different things. This really got me thinking!
  • What is the history? How did the people or place get where it is when the story opens? Doesn’t necessarily have to be part of the story but you, as the author, should know.

In Bruce Coville’s session, he walked us through some of the primo fantasy things he did in his middle grade novel, The Monster’s Ring, and then we talked about tips for writing fantasy. It was a wonderful trip through his conscious and unconscious mind.

Here are a few highlights from the session:

  • Harry Potter had a “high cool things per page ratio”
  • “A story should be a trail of secrets.” – agent Michael Stearns
  • Do your research! Know the lore and be true to it, but also make it your own. Read commentary on folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.

Both sessions really helped me focus more on my story, but it will have to wait until I finish revisions on FADE AWAY. If any of you are fantasy writers, I’d welcome any and all tips since this is a brand new world for me as a writer (not as a reader).

Finally, since writing the Wild Writers post, they’ve added even more about the conference. Click here to check it out!

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