Sunday, February 8, 2009

Picture Book Retreat

I spent the weekend at Darcy Pattison's Picture Book retreat. If you are a writer and have never had the chance to attend one of Darcy's retreats, you are missing out. I worked on two picture book manuscripts that I brought with me and even got the rough draft to a third one written!
Darcy takes you step-by-step through how a picture book should be written. This is not a workshop for beginners. This is a workshop for writers who already know the basics and just need that little extra touch to make their picture books stand out.
Not only did I learn a lot, but I also got to hang out with 25 of my fellow Oklahoma writers. It was amazing listening to all of their stories. Twenty five people and every book idea was unique.
There were times when I wanted to chuck the entire workbook + my manuscripts in the trash. It was hard. You had to go over every line, go through every emotion.
Were my characters strong enough? What made them stand out?
Did I have enough action for an illustrator to draw an entire book?
"I don't ever want to look at these manuscripts again!" I whined to my table mates. But, then after a walk to clear my head, I'd pick one of them back up. I knew each revision was making my story stronger.

The last night, after all the sweat and torment (yes, torment), we had "Open Mike" night. I was at first reluctant to get up and read my story, but am so glad I did. The positive feedback made me feel like I could do anything, even get a picture book published.

Thank you, Darcy Pattison!
Thank you, table mates!
Thank you, Anna and Johnny Myers (and Sheba) for making your home our home for two days. You fed us well... so well, it was hard to leave.:-)

I'll post it when I have a picture from the workshop on my website. Until then...

"Keep reading and dreaming!"

God Bless,

1 comment:

Terry said...

Hey Susan
I can vouch that you were certainly a busy little bee. I agree with your assessment of the workshop. It is a MUST for any aspiring children's picture book writer. I indeed had a great time and enjoyed working with everyone at our table.

I too was able to leave the workshop with a mostly completed manuscript and several ideas for some new ones. Darcy definitley squeezes every ounce of creativity out of you.

Love your Blog too, girl...

C U at Schmooze. - TERRY ;>)