Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Authenticity ~ Thanks, Libba Bray


It seems a seed was planted back at the SCBWI winter conference in NYC, a rather important seed, crucial if you will. And it's all thanks to one, Ms. Libba Bray. I'd like to give you the backstory - even though readers apparently loathe backstory - I'm still giving it to you, because you need it or it won't make sense. You'll see.

As I sat in the huge ballroom being pleasantly regaled by one, Ms. Libba Bray, I listened to her words of wisdom, laughed pretty hard at her humor and took copious notes for my blog report. I had no idea a seed had been planted by one, Ms. Libba Bray. No idea at all.

Fast backward, yes, backward, to January 22, 2010. I received a rejection from an agent who had the full of my middle grade novel. The rejection said she found my MC a bit whiney and unsympathetic, and she couldn't connect to her voice. My first reaction was anger then tears, then some whoa-is-me.

I'm getting to the seed.

Now, fast forward to about a month after the NYC conference, early March to be exact. Those words, whiney and unsympathetic repeatedly gnawed at me...in a good way. As did one, Ms. Libba Bray's advice to always ask yourself, "Is it true yet?" Seed germinated.

Seed sprouted: I have spent the past month revising the dialogue in my middle grade novel...making it true. After "going back in" for the zillionth time I noticed that what I originally thought was adolescent-speak was actually whiney and unsympathetic - and not true. I have roughly 60 pages left to "true-up" and then I'll feel as if I've accomplished some truly good revisions.

Thanks to one, Ms. Libba Bray, and one agent's honest (and ultimately helpful) rejection, my journey towards authenticity became, well, authentic.