Teen Author Boot Camp 2014!

I'm not going to even try to explain my absence from blogging. I'm just not good at it. Plain and simple. But... here's a post about one of my favorite events to participate in. Teen Author Boot Camp! Ran by an awesome group of ladies, Writer's Cubed, TABC is so fun! I find it hard to put in the words the coolness I feel when hanging out with 450 kids all interested in writing.
I really didn't take any pictures, because I don't think to do that sort of thing, but here a couple of pics:
That's Ally Condie! NY Times Bestselling author of the Matched series and Tyler Jolly, a way cool author who wrote the book, Extracted.

Tahsha, Margie, and me, chilling with Richard Sharrah of the Kid History fame.

We're all eating.

Also, I promised some of the kids I would post my notes for my writing Humor class on here:

Writing Humor
Eye Rollers –

§  Often involve potty humor or bodily functions
§  Have very little seriousness involved, if any.
§  Every character supplies the humor, including and most especially the narrator. – The narrator is not simply there to move the story along. Your narrator needs to have a strong voice and is very much involved in the story itself. In terms of Eye-Rollers, Often the narrator will point out the ridiculousness of the story and the lack of intelligence displayed by the characters involved.
§  The ability to sketch somewhat discernible pictures is a bonus.
§  Not intended for riveting plot twists. This is a great place to introduce slapstick.
Tips for Writing an Eye Roller
§  Allow yourself absolute freedom – no restraints. The more ridiculous the better. If you need help starting your story, think of the most unusual situation your character could be in, then think of the most bizarre reaction.
§  If you’re struggling to make the narrator just as zany and ridiculous as the other characters, write the story in first person.
§  Critical piece, don’t mess up and forget to make your main character funny.
Activity – Take your most embarrassing experience and write it with 1,000 words or less. You want to make sure all the key hilarious elements are present, but remove the fluff. Don’t try to write too much of the setting, the description, or the other characters involved.  Draw stick figures to emphasize the points.           

AC/DCs - Action/Comedies-Drama/Comedies – For the majority of this room, this will be where you land.
§  Humor shares the spotlight with another theme (action, drama, horror, fantasy, romance)
§  Humor enhances the ideas in the story. You’re reading because of the initial theme, but you keep reading because of the laughter that ensues page after page.
§  Not every page needs a zinger, but there has to be a hearty supply of laughs within.
§  This is where we find the great comedic sidekicks of the literary world. More to come on this later.
§  Humor is used to keep these stories on the lighter side. Most Middle Grade, with the exception of a few titles will have to stay lighter rather than darker.
Tips for Writing AC/DCs
§  Allow your Main Character to have some humorous attributes. Witty, Snarky, Clumsy
§  Lead out with a funny chapter. A funny scenario or sequence.
§  Try a new angle on something or new concept.
§  There needs to be problems in your story and conflict that happens to your character. Don’t automatically make your character a victim. Give them a sense of humor to handle the situations.
In Middle Grade, don’t always make the conflict dire. Add scenes of surprise to allow the characters a chance to show their funny reactions. This will endear the character to the reader.

When in doubt, always add a secondary character to be the comic relief.

Main Characters have to shoulder the load of the story. The seriousness, the consequences, the conflict. It all falls onto the main character and you need one person to be there through it all. Because of that, there will be large sequences or chunks of your book where the main character will lose their sense of humor at times. Someone has to make the difficult decisions. Someone has to be accountable. If your main character never makes a difficult choice or just allows the problems to happen and never takes a stand, the reader won’t connect with them and your book will lack of substance. Therefore, this is why I strongly urge everyone to add at least one if not more secondary characters who share some of the spotlight with your main character.
Sidekicks allow you to dump a ton of humorous situations into your story while maintaining the integrity of your main character.
Sidekicks don’t have to follow the same rules as your main character. They can be snarky, or obnoxious throughout the story.

If your main character were to have that flighty or obnoxious of an attitude, the reader would lose respect. This is not the case with Sidekicks. They actually earn more respect from the reader. Readers love them for their attitudes. They give the reader a safety net for when things get thick, they always have someone to lighten the mood.
Everything Else
·      Humor is used to create interest in a key character, transforming them from cardboard to complex.
·      The laughs are not what you signed up for, but provide a nice surprise.
·      The humor is embedded. More difficult to find.

1 comment:

Stuart Spindlow said...

This is really great information about teen boot camp.