I had a great time working as part of the social media team with WritersWebTV for their workshop on Writing for Children and Young Adults on the 28th of September. The workshop was excellent – I learnt a lot from the different speakers, and from working backstage and connecting with the audience. People were watching from all over the world – South Africa, Scotland, Belfast, the Irish Writers Centre, Kerry, Wexford and more! Getting feedback and having exercises sent in gave us a good idea of how the audience interacted with the workshop. Vanessa O’Loughlin interviewed the different speakers, and an in-studio audience took part in the writing exercises.
First up were picture book makers Marie Louise Fitzpatrick and Michael Emberley. This session got a lot of questions in from the audience, and was very informative. Issues discussed included the pacing of a picture book, the idea of picture books as a repeat performance, and also about achieving the balance between appealing to both children and adults. It was interesting to get two perspectives on picture book making, and they also kicked off the interactive writing exercises.
Norton Viergien of Brown Bag Films was on next. He is currently working with Niamh Sharkey on the adaptation of her Happy Hugglewuggs series for Disney, and his previous projects include Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys. He gave a really interesting insight into what makes a book appeal to filmmakers, and on the process from page to screen.
Children’s book agent Polly Nolan offered some very valuable advice on preparing your submission, and on what agents can offer authors. From formatting your submission, to writing a clear and concise cover letter, to creating authentic child/teen characters her session was full of helpful tips!
Meg Rosoff’s bestselling book How I Live Now has been made into a film starring Saoirse Ronan. Meg came to speak to us at Writers Web TV and gave lots of great tips on writing for young adults. I love Meg Rosoff’s writing, so it was really interesting to get an insight into how she works, for example character comes before plot in her work. She spoke powerfully about finding your writing voice – describing it as something that comes from deep within you, and that to find it you must take note of what your brain notices.
Oisín McGann, illustrator and writer (for children and young adults) was the last speaker for the workshop. He spoke about creating fantasy worlds saying that a slightly twisted version of the truth can be the best fantasy. Also – fun fact, Oisín likes to work at a stand up desk, as he paces about when he writes. His exercises were all about world building, something which is crucial for fantasy, sci-fi or dystopia writers.
Personally, I learnt a lot from the workshop, and I’m sure it will really benefit my writing. Working on the social media with Carrie King and Paul Fitzsimons was also a very enjoyable experience – promoting the workshop, and engaging with the audience showed me a whole new side of events like this. There are more Writers Web TV workshops coming soon – on women’s fiction, crime writing and getting published. Stay tuned in, and keep writing!