Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Monday, June 20, 2011

While We Were Away...Plus ANOTHER Contest!

Revising Song of the Day: "Back Down South" by Kings of Leon

Hey, all! Fancy meeting you here...where have we been this past week, you ask?
*Working on MFA requirements (still doing that a little...)
*Revising our YA WIPs and completed manuscripts.
*Attending an awesome SCBWI Novel Retreat in Shenandoah National Park!!!

The last item on the list was probably the most fun and informative and we would love to share that experience with you. After traveling on a train, a bus, and then a taxi cab,we FINALLY arrived in Shenandoah National Park Friday June 10th. We went to our room which looked like this on the outside:

And the view looked like this:

And this is what sunset looked like:

Oh, and this is us posing with the awesome bear at Big Meadows Lodge (cuz we were in bear country!):
Then we proceeded to have dinner and after that was our FIRST (out of four) sessions with the amazing, super intelligent, uber literary, spectacular Cheryl Klein from Arthur A. Levine Books (an imprint of Scholastic). In the first session Ms. Klein gave us general ideas about what we'd be discussing later in the weekend, and probably gave one of the coolest pieces of advice ever. Ms. Klein told us how she has her clients write a letter to her when it's time for revisions. In the letter, Ms. Klein tells her clients to answer the following questions:

What were you trying to do with this book?

What's the story or your vision?

What's the book about?

What do you love most? (Characters, scenes, lines etc.)

What do you suspect needs the most work?

That was just one of the major highlights from the retreat. The rest of the weekend was full of peer reviews (with problem scenes and first page critiques) and insight on revising novels from Cheryl Klein. Ms. Klein gave sessions on character, plot, and voice with specific outlines, questions to ask, and exercises to complete in order to make your novel better. Most of her talk is featured in her writing resource: Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults

We stood in a line like this to get our books signed:

Now...there was a limited number of these excellent books, and essentially me and Pam are one person. So...we decided to get one signed for us:

And then get the other signed for one of YOU!!!!

Okay, since we just finished a big contest (winner will be announced Wednesday June 22nd) this one will be easy. To win all you have to do is be a follower of the blog and comment on this post with your e-mail address. Simple, right??

We hope that you all will enter because Ms. Klein's book is a priceless tool that we guarantee will only make your novel better. Good luck! You have until Wednesday(June 22nd) at Midnight EST to enter.

In the mean time, do you have any revising tricks you'd like to share??


Christine Murray said...

That looks fantastic! I would love to go a writing course or retreat, but finances don't stretch that far unfortunately. You both look like you had a great time!

Meredith McCardle said...

I've heard Cheryl Klein's books is fabulous, but I haven't yet read it. would love to!

Glad you guys had a great weekend!

Rachel Bateman said...

Jealous! It sounds like you two had a fabulous time. Yay for a great giveaway - Cheryl Klein's book sounds like a great resource.

(my name links to my contact page)

Christa said...

Wow! Thanks for being so thoughtful. : )
ambience.of.rain {at} gmail.com
GFC: Christa

Jamie Manning said...

Congrats ladies on what looks like a great time...so glad you had some fun amidst all that learning!!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I would love to win!


Alex Mullarky said...

*squee!* I'd love to enter, but if it's not open internationally that's fine! :P

alex.mullarky@hotmail.co.uk, as you know.

Jessica Love said...

I'd love to enter!

jessica.love at gmail

Racquel Henry said...

I too am on that same boat of "working on MFA requirements." And, wish I'd read this before I posted my opportunities! I would have blogged about the contest. I'll still add it to my side bar later today. Looks like you had fun at the retreat. Glad to have you back in the blogging world! :)

Claire Dawn said...


Cheryl Klein keeps popping up in my radar. I want to go to her WD webinar on Thursday, but it will be at 2 am here. And since I have to work on Friday, AND I'm going to a concert that night, there's no way I can swing it. :(

Btw, which MFA? I'm in the market.

muchlanguage (at) gmail

Tracey Neithercott said...

Ah, I'm so jealous, 1. because it sounds like you got a ton of great advice out of the weekend and 2. because Shenandoah National Park is gorgeous.

I'd love to win! My email is tracey.neithercott(at)gmail(dot)com

Marquita Hockaday said...

Thanks all for entering thus far...we learned so much from Cheryl Klein that it is taking days to still process all the info!

@Claire--we are getting our MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. It's low residency AND you get the chance to complete a 10 day residency in ENGLAND! Check it out :)

Unknown said...

How fun! And what pretty pics. *sigh*

Consider me entered.
karenamandahooper at that big ol company hat starts with G and ends with ail.

Hope you got your prize I mailed. I realized (after I mailed it) that I left your card in my car. So sorry it arrive with no personal note. :(

Ghenet Myrthil said...

Sounds luck such a fun weekend. I love the view. I've heard many good things about this book. Thanks for doing this giveaway!


KatOwens: Insect Collector said...

I should have just jumped in the trunk and hijacked my way to this conference with you!!

It looks amazing. I'd love to win the book!
you know my addy, but here it is anyway

Sarah Nicolas said...

That retreat sounds amazing!

Sarah.nicolas.ya at gmail

Jennifer Pickrell said...

Lovely pics - you all were up in my neck o' the woods!

Thanks for the contest :)


Llehn said...

I'd love to play please. The book sounds invaluable.


Alicia Gregoire said...


And revision tip? I'm a fan of the shrunken manuscript.