In addition to picture books, I’m also working on several young adult novels. I’ve actually completed one (that needs a TON of revision), started another, and had a wisp of an idea for yet a third (the latter of which is getting the most attention at the moment…what can I say? Those characters are talking the loudest.)
And then there’s the “fourth wall”. No, I’m not referring to the theatrical term where an actor directly addresses the audience.
I’m referring to my admittedly complex, free verse “picture book” that everyone says should really be a middle grade novel. The one that makes me feel as if I’m banging my head against the wall.
But in a good, loving way.
I hadn’t taken an SCBWI intensive in quite some time, but when I saw the NY conference offered a Novel In Verse option, and it was to be conducted by the fantabulously talented Ellen Hopkins, Sonya Sones, Andrea Davis Pinkney and Emma Dryden (not to mention the break-out session during the regular conference with the incredible Jane Yolen!), I knew the universe was trying to tell me something.
I’d been researching free verse for quite some time, hearing over and over again that there were “no rules”, but these amazing women impressed upon all of us attending that you need to know the rules of poetry to break them; that you need to understand, internalize and adopt the methods, and measures, and music.
I am now filled to overflowing with ideas, information and inspiration, and am so indebted to these amazing mentors (including my bestie, my critique partner and SCBWI roomie, Kimberly Sabatini!)
The incredible Ellen Hopkins, Kimberly Sabatini and Emma Dryden!
The magnificent Jane Yolen, Sonya Sones and Kimberly Sabatini!
The amazing Andrea Davis Pinkney!
We must never stop learning.
And now, I must write.