Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sara Pennypacker: Making Your Work Memorable

Sara Pennypacker is the author of seventeen children's books, including the New York Times bestselling Clementine series, Summer of the Gypsy Moths, Pierre in Love, Sparrow Girl, and The Amazing World of Stuart, and most recently Pax.

Kids can read an extraordinary number of books, but you want yours to be the one they share with friends, and the one they go back and buy again when they are adults.

Pay attention to what you connect to in books. For Sara, it is children and people in need. People often place a book with some significant event in their own life (something we have no control over). But this speaks to the idea of connection.

"A books connects a reader to the rest of his tribe through time and space."

A reader is connecting because he or she is going through something.

As writers we want to expand the emotion so readers connect in the way they've experienced that emotion.

This is easier to do with realistic fiction, but this is still important in fantasy. Find something universal.

What makes a book memorable:

Character: Start with a name. Create multi-dimensional character, but those characters must be paired with the right plot.

Omission: Leave room for the reader. When the brain sees a pattern, it shuts off. Add something a bit irregular.

Voice: A great voice grab you by the throat.

Show, Don't tell: This happens in scenes, and scenes must be vivid. Discomfort is extremely powerful (fear, anger, danger, embarrassment, physical pain). 

Honest Emotion: If you don't have honest emotion about that "thing" then find something else to write about. 

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