I’m so excited to be taking a writing class this winter through Mediabistro. My instructor is Jill Santopolo, a Senior Editor at Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Jill started us out with writing an outline. This is to be our ‘road map’ for our novel. I’ve always drafted up a rough outline before I write and done character sketches, but she took us a step further. My outline ended up being 10 pages single spaced! She then went through it giving me detailed suggestions of what was working and what didn’t.
This pushed me to think about my plot’s flow as well as all of my characters’ development. It was tough work, but I’ll never go back. When I sit down to write my next scene or need to add foreshadowing, hello outline!
We are now into the 3rd week of the course and each week, minus the first for our outlines, we submit up to 15 pages of our novel. Jill’s notes and thoughts have pushed me to look at the details of my writing.
The class is a heap of work though. Not only am I trying to write a full novel, make edits as Jill and my class members suggest, but I also have to keep up with 11 other people’s stories in the class as well. It’s daunting but I’ve found that I’m learning when I read other people’s stories and Jill’s critique’s of their work as well.
I’m excited about my novel- of course!- but I’m also thrilled to see my growth as a writer. I’ll keep you updated how the class is going throughout the semester.
Here’s Jill’s bio if you’re interested:
Jill has worked on critically-acclaimed, award-winning, and New York Times best-selling titles. Jill holds a BA in English literature from Columbia University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is also the author of Alec Flint, Super Sleuth: The Nina, The Pinta and the Vanishing Treasure, published by Scholastic’s Orchard Books imprint.
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