Monday, September 29, 2008

Tales from the Conference: Writers are really Good Fairies! Good Fairy 101.

Remember in the movie Pinocchio when the Good Fairy floats through the window in her sparkly blue gown with her handy-dandy magic wand in tow? And POOF! She turns Pinocchio into a real boy.

Guess what!? That's us! Writers have a magical power. The power to breathe life into our characters.

My first break-out session at last weeks SCBWI Carolina's conference was with author, Stephanie Green. Her session was titled CPR FOR WRITERS.

I couldn't help but imagine my characters running around as little paper dolls looking up at the first bright light of evening (aka my computer screen) crying out "I want to be a real _______ (girl, boy, bad guy, etc.)" And with my trusty pen I point, aim and POOF! My paper dolls inflate like a balloon, their flesh fill out and voila! The Characters are no longer flat. They have been given life!

So, here's Good Fairy 101. Giving shape and life to your paper dolls:

Stephanie's major point was "motivation with emotion." Motivation is everything and it has to be strong and sincere.

ie: if your character wants to be popular. . . Why does she want to be popular? What is her motivation and the emotion behind the motivation. She has to have a good reason in order to be believable.

Stephanie gave a great writing exercise to help us conjure up emotions from our own childhood so we can use them in our writing. She suggested that we take 20 minutes (or whatever allotted time we choose) and write down memories from our childhood. Dig deep, try to find things forgotten and associate the emotions that go with those memories. Even things that may have seemed insignificant. You might be surprised at the results.

I was surprised to remember Christmas time, my cousin always brought a gift, year after year, with a tag labeled "To: Aunt Cecil"

I never met aunt Cecil. Aunt Cecil never can to our family gathering, yet my cousin always brought a gift. This Aunt Cecil was always a quiet mystery to me. Who was she? Why didn't she come? This wasn't an major part of my life, but it still stirred a great deal of curiosity within me. An air of mystery at Christmas time.

So, if you're ever having writers block, or are just in the mood for a writing exercise, this is a lot of fun!

hmmm. . . I think I need to go shopping for a tiara and a pen that looks like a magic wand. After all, a Good fairy isn't complete w/o such accessories! :0)

I can hear our paper dolls crying out to us now!

Happy Good Fairying!

16 comments:

Jacqui said...

But wait! Who was Aunt Cecil?!?!

C.R. Evers said...

If I told you, that would take all the fun out of the mystery, now, wouldn't it? ;0)

Tabitha said...

LOL!! :) Does that mean you never found out who Aunt Cecil was? :)

Great post. Motivation is key to well-rounded characters. If we don't know why they're doing something, it makes it hard to root for them. :)

Rena said...

Oh, what a great post. The more I read about these conferences, the more I realize I need to go. I've only been to homeschool ones, but I always get a lot from those, so I'm sure a writer's one would be just as inspirational.

I love the ideas of trying to remember things from your past. Just look at my blog -- LMAO!

beth said...

Oh, good! I'm writing up some of my notes, too, and I'm so glad to see that you attended different workshops from me! It's like I get an extra workshop for free :)

adrienne said...

I love your image of the paper doll being fleshed out...
I will try that exercise - it sounds like fun!

Jacqui said...

Hmm. Was it your mom? I remember being very young and wondering why my cousin kept talking about Aunt So-and-so and it was my mom.

OR, it was a ghost! The ghost of Aunt Cecil (isn't that a man's name? the mystery thickens?) who haunted your house and had to be appeased with Christmas offerings...

sruble said...

I think there's a story with Aunt Cecil ... I have a whole buch of ideas from just reading that little bit. Have you thought about writing Aunt Cecil's story? Or the story of the child that goes looking for Aunt Cecil?

Thanks for all the conference notes and for the reminder of motivation + emotion.

C.R. Evers said...

Tabitha - I did find out who aunt Cecil is, I just like keeping the mystery alive! ;0)

Rena - I love all your childhood memory posts. You are the queen of childhood memories!

Beth - I looked for you at the conference, but never came across your name tag. I hope you met lots of people and had fun!

Adrienne - Thanks for stopping by! Have fun being a paper doll Good Fairy! ;0)

Sruble - you know, I didn't really think about it that way. I did the exercise for fun, and since I'm finishing a project up with on on the back burner, it didn't cross my mind. but I think I'll give it more thought and start getting idea's. you never know what it can turn into! Thanks for the suggestion! I'd love to hear some of your idea's!

Jacqui - you are making this way to fun for me. I imagine if you were a cartoon character, you'd be a precocious kitten. Curious and often in mischief. ;0) I love your curiosity and imagination. Aunt Cecil wasn't my mom. And come to think of it, the other thing that caused me to wonder was that the gift was usually placed up on Grandma's t.v. instead of under the tree with the other gifts, and at some point, it would disappear, though I never saw who took it or where it went. . . . .

Janelle said...

sruble has a great idea, there, Christy. I'd love to read the story of the child who goes looking for aunt cecil!

Brenda said...

what a great story...I agree Aunt Cecil sounds like a wonderful story...

I want to see a pic of you with your magic wand and tiara...grin...

Jacqui said...

Christy! You have to write this book. Seriously.

"Finding Aunt Cecil, by C.R. Evers"

signed,
Precocious Kitten (can I steal that as my new secret handle?)

sruble said...

Good luck writing the Aunt Cecil story Christy! I say just run with it and see where it goes. :0)

C.R. Evers said...

Well, Janelle, Precocious Kitten, Sruble, It looks like the masses have spoken. I have to write a book about finding aunt Cecil. The problem is that this sounds more picture book and middle grade, Which is a challenge for me. YA tends to be my niche. But I'll keep mulling the idea around and see what starts to take place. If you have any book suggestions on things I can read that may help point me in the right direction, let me know!

sruble said...

I think you could make it YA. Take the idea of Aunt Cecil and make her someone or something that's YA appropriate. She doesn't have to be the MC's aunt ... but if you're telling it the way you originally talked about here, then it does seem like a PB or maybe a chapter book.

I think we all reacted to it because the way you told us about Aunt Cecil, it made us want to know more, to know who Aunt Cecil was and why your cousin always brought her a gift if she was never there. Your curiosity about Aunt Cecil made us curious too. :0)

However, if it's going to mess with your regular writing, then maybe don't write the story, or play with it as something fun, just for you.

C.R. Evers said...

Hey sruble!

I always love to have idea's to play with! It usually takes me a while to let an idea simmer before I write it anyway. This is a definate simmer project while I work on my others stuff!

It's so cool how this new idea came out of this post! Fun! :0)

Thanks!

christy