Nanowrimo Kickoff and Writing Workshop Report Card
So, we’re in the blocks ready-set for the start of National Novel Writing Month tomorrow. With my first installment of The Mis(s)fits at the querying stage I’m excited to jump into a new project – Succotashtrophe, a middle-grade sci-fi adventure. I look forward to Nanowrimo as a way to bring more to the forefront (as I still have that necessary day job), and reaffirm my commitment to the craft. What you may not realize is that it is also a great way to get any young people in your household writing too! In my experience natural talents and affinities start to show up early, and the ability to write well is a necessary skill in any profession.
Did you know that Nanowrimo has some seriously great tools for young writers? They have a wonderful set of worksheets on plot, character development, setting – everything. If you’ve already planned to participate, think about daring a young writer to join you with their own project!
Speaking of learning, as you might recall I signed up for three different workshop experiences a few months ago. Now that I’ve completed them I wanted to pass my take on to you.
Skillshare: Humor Writing ($12)
Skillshare is a website offering a range of online classes on a wide variety of topics. Since it was reasonably priced, I signed up for a five-week class as an experiment. Each week we received reading assignments (generally three). The second week we had to submit a 500-word piece as a first draft, which we would polish over the rest of the time. The teacher offered several short sets of online office hours, where you could ask any questions but they never worked for my schedule. For the first two weeks I diligently completed the reading assignments and turned in my first draft by the deadline. I received one comment and three likes from fellow online classmates. In the larger metro areas groups formed and met in person for critiques, but that’s not an option for me here a good two hours from the nearest reasonably urban area. The online reading assignments continued to arrive, but with so little feedback from the class and none from the teacher (I had expected that she would read our first drafts) I quickly lost interest. I would fail this alternative but the experience of the 500-word piece was somewhat valuable. If you don’t belong to a critique already and you live in a metropolitan area you might find it more valuable.
Skillshare Online Humor Writing Class: D
SCBWI Fall Conference (Greektown) $300+ when you include travel expenses
As a relatively new member, this was my first SCBWI experience. I arrived early to take a writing workshop with Libba Bray. The following day we had the full SCBWI program with Libba Bray, her husband/agent Barry Goldblatt and her editor Alvina Ling. I made an effort to meet as many new members as possible during the breaks, but it would have been nice to get a sticker on my badge or something so other attendees could recognize me as a new member. Libba’s sessions were wonderful, she gave us a series of writing prompts with time to just write with no inhibitions. I have never used writing prompts in the past but after seeing the results I’m going to make an effort to make them a more steady habit. Alvina Ling typically does not accept unagented work, but she gave attendees a submission window, which was a nice little perk.
SCBWI Fall Conference: B+
Writers Digest Crafting MG/YA for Today’s Market with Mary Kole ($75)
This was a 90-minute online webinar. While it was closed to interactive questions, you could submit a question. All Q&A, plus an archived copy of the presentation, is to arrive via email within a week. This was a good session, I did learn a few things and it neatly summarized many of the conclusions I’ve pieced together from other editing reviews and workshops. The class includes a personalized two-page critique from Mary Kole with the end product to arrive by late January.
Writers Digest Mary Kole Webinar: Incomplete (I will grade this session once I receive my critique.)