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What I learned from The Tucson Festival of Books 2014!

The Tucson Festival of Books was great this year!
It was even better than last year because it was warm but not too hot. I tried to go to a lot of panel and workshops but there were lines out the wahoo. Also we had extremely high pollen levels in the air which was not good for my allergies and Asthma, so I cut Sunday short. However it was still a great year! On Saturday morning I brought my family with me; Mom, Sister, and Nephew.  My nephew, Axton, is 13 months and he enjoyed himself. The TFoB's sets up a large area for children that includes; a free book giveaway, puppet shows, toddlers play area, Science city with interactive projects, and arts and crafts from different sponsor tents. Lets just say my nephew was fully entertained watching the older kids launch their rockets, throwing foam rocks around, and playing in oobleck (any Dr. Seuss fans out there?).
 


After my family tired out around 1pm I attended a couple author panels. The first panel I went too was with MaryJanice Davidson and Gini Koch called How to write Fast and Well. Here are the tips they shared:
  • Take typing lessons. Gini types 120 wpm and used Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing - Official Site
  • Make TIME to write:
    • Schedule the time in or quickly write a paragraph in between all your busy stuff.
    • You need to set a goal for yourself like a page a day. This will help you achieve something in your writing.
  • Do not waste time researching:
    • Find three to four sources confirming the information you need then stop researching
    • or set a timer for about an hour and when it goes off stop researching and start writing
The biggest tip to find time to write was from Gini Koch, which was too STOP WATCHING TV! I put it in capital letter because she was very adamant about it, but not in a rude way in a realistic way. Gini worked full time and had a family to take care of, like most mothers who want to write, and she said the only way she got any writing done was by cutting the TV out of her life. She is right of course. She Proved it when she asked the room who wanted to write, most of the audience raised their hand and then when she asked who finds it difficult to find time to write, most of the people in the room raised their hands and when she asked who watches TV, most of the people in the room indicated they did. So if you find it difficult to find time to write cut an hour of TV and use that time to write. If your strong enough try to cut TV completely and see how much you write.

The other panel I went to was called An Editors View of YA with Author/Editor Jacquelyn Mitchard. She was nice and talked a lot about what makes a book YA, which in her opinion is the voice of the main character. She says character voice is important to YA readers and that most YA book are written in the First person. I have to agree with that, I get captured by the first person narrative of the character because in their view everything is new and exciting.
Common mistakes Jacquelyn sees while editing YA:
  • Prologues are not needed most of the time and do not help the story.
  • The first chapter should not be an information dump. Meaning you do not need to set up the world and rules of your books' world in the first couple of chapters because it takes away from the story. You need to tell the story, FIRST, and feather in the information as you go.
  • Do not use teen speak, like frickin, or use pop culture references that are popular now because they might not be in the future.
  • GRAMMAR is a big issue and if there are too many mistakes most editors will automatically send a denial letter/stub back to you without even finishing your book. She suggest you pay to have your book edited by a professional before sending to an editor for publication review. It will be money well spent.
Some other tips I picked up from a few other panels were:
Oh on Sunday I went to the Cornelia Funke author panel and she was amazing! Cornelia was full of enthusiasm and was truly inspiring to future writers. If I ever get an Ipad I am downloading her Mirrorworld app, which looked amazing!

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