Monday, September 16, 2013

Rats, Bats, and a Bunch of Characters

 Workshop Committee and Speaker, Author Hilary Wagner

On Saturday, I had the privilege of sitting in a conference room surrounded by rats, bats, snakes and even earthworms.  Luckily, I was also surrounded by a group of fantastic writers, both published and pre-published. Even better, the critters were just decorations based off the characters from the books of our presenter, author Hilary Wagner. 

            Hilary, the author of the middle-grade, fantasy trilogy, Nightshade City, and more, led us through a great presentation on building characters(like her rats) with depth and put us to work in groups creating a new character.  It was quite the challenge to get everyone to agree.  In the afternoon we had a bonus session on query letters.  Such a daunting part of the submission process whether you are trying to find an agent or trying to get an editor at a publishing house to read your manuscript, it can be difficult to figure out the best way to get attention and show that you have a great story.  We also had a great query letter game where we tried to come up with some of the worst queries ever.  We’ll just leave it at that since we got a little carried away on those.

            All in all, it was a fantastic workshop.  It was a great learning experience, chance to make new connections, and above all a time to be inspired as writers as we always continue to improve. I’d like to shout out thanks to my SCBWI-IL Co- Network Representatives for serving on the committee with me to bring this event to Southern Illinois.  LS Murphy, Sherry Randle and Jonathan Schkade, you guys are awesome!

            Thanks again to Hilary Wagner, our wonderful speaker, and friend, not to mention someone who convinced even me to look at rats a little more compassionately.  To learn more about Hilary and her books visit:  

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