Friday, September 13, 2013

Giveaway!!! Go to the James River Writers Conference for FREE!

We are pleased to announce a giveaway for one lucky RCW reader to win

a free conference registration for both days of the James River Writers Conference in Richmond, VA.

The James River Writer's Conference is in its 11th year and continues to set the standard for providing information, feedback, and networking to writers in the Richmond area.  Publishers, editors, and agents from all over the country come to help writers hone their craft.  For more information about this year's conference, please visit:

Many of the Richmond Children's Writers members will be at the JRW conference, and we hope to see you there.

To enter, you MUST leave a comment of 100 words or less explaining why you want to attend the conference this year (and then make sure you login to Rafflecopter below and check that item off the list). You may obtain additional entries into the contest by completing other tasks listed on the Rafflecopter tool: spread the word on FaceBook, Twitter, and other formats. The more items you complete, the better your chance of winning!

The giveaway will run from Friday September 13th until Friday, September 27th. Spread the word!

We're excited to read all the responses!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Fly on the Wall

Highlights from the Richmond Children's Writers September Meeting

Our September meeting was fantastic! Everyone is back from vacation and ready to rock and roll. Here are a few of the more interesting things we discussed:

We all like wacky picture books, but how wacky is too wacky? Can a picture book be too far out? Take this book for example: Dinosaurs Love Underpants. Dinosaurs are a perennial kid favorite, true. And underpants, as discussed in our August meeting, can work for a kids' book. Having said that, Dinosaurs Love Underpants, for me, was just too wacky. But . . . it is a published book, which is nothing to sneeze at. Just goes to show that one person's too-wacky-for-me is another person's book deal. We had some wacky submissions this month, and predictably, those stories drew a variety of reactions from the group.

After reading a chapter from a young adult novel, we discussed this concept:
"The wind howled" is stronger rather than "She heard the wind howling." This is due to fact that in the second sentence, the main character is inserted between the reader and the action. The first sentence makes the reader feel he is the one who is hearing the wind howl. That translates into a more engaging text, which is another way of saying the writing is stronger. Fiction writers would do well to take a good look at sentences phrased with "She saw" or "He felt" or "I heard" or any verb that tells what the main character is perceiving, and rewrite it in a way that allows the reader to experience the sensation as directly as possible.

A submission from a different young adult novel led us into a discussion about novel writing technique. Writing fiction is a complex task, and requires finding the right balance of a lot of moving pieces. Each scene has to move the story forward. It has to do at least one or two other things too, like develop character, set the scene, infuse a mood, build tension, and such. But the primary job of a scene is to move the plot forward. All those other things can be worked in. Each chapter, each scene, has to accomplish several different things at once.
If there were a goddess of multitasking, I imagine she would look something like this.
We will conclude with the September writing prompt:

Write a wacky action scence that weaves in two other elements (choose from character develoment, setting description, mood, or tension). Bonus points for including either dinosaurs or underpants.

Now, write away!