INGRID LAW, "Creating a Strange Voice in a Namby-Pamby, Silly-Nilly Way"
Another packed panel session, this time with Newbery Honor ("Savvy") novelist Ingrid Law. SHe had a fantastic handout called "Ingrid's Voice Toolkit" that conference goers found incredibly helpful. Some highlights for you:
Books she recommends include:
-- "Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language & Style" by Arthur Plotnik, Random House Reference, 2005
-- "DARE - Dictionary of American Regional English"
-- "Rhyming Dictionary" (http://www.rhymezone.com)
-- "Idiom Dictionary" (http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com)
When it comes to using the dictionary, she stresses that "You should never use a thesaurus randomly or without cross-referencing in the dictionary." She lists an example such as, "Her bangs were uneven." What other words could you do to elevate this sentence? She also adds, "Better yet... find a way to SHOW the reader the bangs are uneven before simply picking a different word."
Other handout highlights included samples of long, lyrical sentences in kid's lit versus short and quirky sentences, repetition, similes and metaphors, etc.
Pictured above is also a fun writing exercise Ingrid have everyone do - she listed a setting (apartment), two characters (young and old woman), and the action of a woman dropping her groceries. She had everyone write a scene using those plot points and trying to employ a unique voice to it.
Overall, a very thorough and meticulous lecture that inspired conference goers with new tools to use to improve their writing and create a unique voice and point of view.
Plus, she had a cake for us to eat with the words SCBWI on it!