Monday, April 2, 2012

NYC Teen Author's Festival: All that and a Bowl of Awesomesauce

Hey fellow writers, you know all those cute sayings meant to encourage you to finish writing/editing your dang novel/script/story: Shut the Barn Door and Write that Sucker, What are You Waiting For? Butt in Chair.  Stop Piddling around on Facebook and Write Your Novel?

Well, I've been trying, I really have. But this past Saturday, the edits were making me crazy. I'd rewritten the same paragraph a thousand different ways and it was still terrible. The well was empty. The Butt and the Chair were both aching.

So I decided to spend some energy to get some energy. And thank goodness I did.

The NYC Teen Author's Festival never fails to energize and inspire me. Last year, I attended several amazing sessions including a panel called "I think I love you, but maybe I don't." This year, I walked in on a panel discussing grisly murder and death and YA novels, and stayed for a session on turning points in character lives moderated by the most fantastic E. Lockhart, as well as a series of readings looking forward to the fall.

Highlights this year:


1. Hearing Jess Rothenberg read from The Catastropic History of You and Me, a book with a most-est hilarious-est protagonist voice. Consider, for instance, the following literary deliciousness: 

“Love is no game. People cut their ears off over this stuff. People jump off the Eiffel Tower and sell all their possessions and move to Alaska to live with the grizzly bears, and then they get eaten and nobody hears them when they scream for help. That’s right. Falling in love is pretty much the same thing as being eaten alive by a grizzly bear.”

Fantastic, yes?

2. Learning, thanks to the awesome Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds, that there is apparently a slightly more expensive version of Scrivener which not only helps you organize your novel, but actually writes your novel for you.

I need to be getting me some of that. (Note aforementioned terrible editing happening right now)

3. Hearing the most splendid David Levithan (1/2 author of my most favorite book Will Grayson/Will Grayson -- I mean co-author, obviously, but I think 1/2 author sounds cooler. I'm feeling it may be one of those new phrases that catch on. Maybe.) read from his forthcoming book, about a kid who occupies different teenage bodies every day. I'm not sure why this poor fellow is doomed to this Quantum Leap-esque life (fellow ladies from the 80's did or did not Scott Bakula rock your world back then?),

but I can't wait to read it.


4. But most best-est experience of the day, I mean, all that and a bowlful of awesomesauce best-est, was hearing an author I haven't had the pleasure of yet reading, Stewart Lewis, read from his novel You Have Seven Messages, and then -- get this -- sing the song he wrote to go along with the book!

If you do nothing else for yourself today, please, fellow writers, click on Lewis' singer-songwriter-author page, scroll down a little, and listen to this song he wrote and sang. It's fantastic. Made me want to hold up a little flickering lighter, like at a concert. (Or maybe, look sadly out of my floor to ceiling window...) More authors should sing awesome songs to go along with their books...

 


So am I a bit more creatively filled up after this weekend? Certainly. Will it translate into a better day of writing and editing today? I certainly hope so. But if nothing else, NYC Teen Author's festival gave me a few more authors to read, many more sparks of inspiration, and an increased sense of humility and gratitude for belonging - however peripherally - to this awe-inspiring community of creators and writers.

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