voice

Be the Hero of Your Writing Process with Kendra Levin

by Leah Heilman Schanke

Kendra Levin, Executive Editor at Viking Children’s Books, author of The Hero Is You, and the September speaker in the SCBWI-Metro NY Professional lecture series, shared how writers can use the hero’s journey model to create a “holistic, healthy, creative writing process.” Many writers struggle with process and experience dark moments where they wonder, “Why am I writing this?” Levin said. “Writers need to find ways to work organically and be their best selves.”
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Finding Your Own Unique Voice

By Mackenzie Reide

Nova Ren Suma 2Award-winning YA author and writing instructor Nova Ren Suma spoke about voice at the final SCBWI Tuesday night professional series lecture of the season in June 2015. She emphasized three important tasks for writers: finding your own unique voice, taking risks, and being true to yourself.

The journey of being a writer is not an easy one. Suma explained how voice is deeply connected to that journey and often develops from hitting a low point, such as failing to find an agent or publisher or feeling your career has stalled.

She described a low point in her own career when she doubted her place in the YA publishing world. She no longer felt connected to her readers or her publisher. So in her next book, 17 and Gone, she tried to please everyone. This only created a feeling of more distance and she began to question everything.

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The Ins And Outs Of The Graphic Novel: Calista Brill, Judy Hansen and Andrew Arnold in Conversation About Graphic Novels, From Concept to Published Book

by K. Marcus

Judy Hansen of the Hansen Literary Management, LLC, a literary agent specializing in graphic novels, strongly recommends that “if you want to learn how to create graphic novels and comics, both known as ‘sequential art’, the best resources to begin with are:”

Understanding Comics by Scott Mcloud

Making Comics by Scott Mcloud

Comics and Sequential Art by Wil Eisner

Then move on to “cutting edge” graphic novels and focus on their lettering and ballooning:

Amelia Rules! (series) and The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley to look at paneling, ballooning & lettering and Hereville (series) by Barry Deutsch to see paneling & ballooning. And continue to read, read, read. Calista Brill, senior editor at First Second Books, added, “Sometimes people think of comics as ‘books light’ but they are very sophisticated and kids who read comics learn to pick up on these flourishes.”

Andrew Arnold, designer at Roaring Brook Press/FSG and a comics/graphic novel author/illustrator has “learned to never underestimate how smart kids are.”

Judy Hansen went on to say that “kids comics have commercial viability and have a great possibility for ancillary rights development.”

But graphic novels aren’t only for children. There is a market for adults as well. In both age groups, Calista Brill said, “the text and art should combine to make something greater than itself.” “A panel in a comic book doesn’t want to be perfect, something should be missing so it then directs you to the next panel.” The author/illustrator needs to think about text placement and how that leads the reader through the story.

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2013 Character Boot Camp: Voice Lessons With Heather Alexander

Originally Published: April 2013

by Gina Carey

photo by Jenna Ward

Writers who struggle with the concept of voice are frequently told, “You know it when you see it.” As Heather Alexander, assistant editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, pointed out, editors and agents also note when they don’t see it. Creating a strong, fresh voice is essential, she said, for making a book stand out.

In five “voice lessons,” Alexander discussed how writers can use voice to reveal character effectively. Here are the five components of voice that she recommended mastering, along with book recommendations where those elements of voice shine. (more…)

2013 Character Boot Camp: Crafting Complex Characters

Originally Published: February 2013

by Gabriela Pereira

photo by Jenna Ward

Mary Kole, senior literary manager at Movable Type and author of the popular blog KidLit.com, gave writers practical advice on “Crafting Complex Characters” in her morning workshop, along with exercises to help writers apply her techniques.

According to Kole, kids read because they want to bond with the characters in books, and that means writers must create characters kids will love (or love to hate). In order to create these relatable characters, writers can use a tool called a “save the cat” moment, named for an incident in The Hunger Games, when a previously unlikeable character does something that redeems him- or herself in the eyes of the reader. (more…)

Make Editors Go Ga-Ga: Martha Mihalick On Voice

Originally Published: Oct. 2011

by Emily Goodman

Martha Mihalick, editor at Greenwillow, opened the Metro NY Tuesday Professional Lecture Series on September 13 with a sold-out talk entitled, “Voice: What is it, and why does it make editors go ga-ga?”

“Your voice is your instrument,” said Mihalick, noting that dictionary definitions of ‘voice’ also call it “a wish, choice, right of expression, or influential power.” (more…)