Skip to main content

Rainbow Rowell #NY16SCBWI Breakout Session: Creating a Teen Voice

Dear Alison from one fangirl to another,

Thank you for your recap on Alvina Ling's Plotting Session. It's times like these when I wish I had a clone so I can listen to all the different breakout sessions and take notes--I know, I know. Geek alert. And the Vomit Draft concept? That's exactly what my first drafts feel like, but a good kind of vomit you know--the dumping of words onto paper instead of other places. I should probably change the subject. So, we spent the morning in Rainbow Rowell’s Breakout Session. Officially, as Regional Advisors for SCBWI, we collected tickets. Unofficially, we considered ourselves bouncers, but you know what, all those fangirls and fanboys who came to her session LOVE Rainbow, and they were just as excited and starry eyed as we were. We kept our cool though, didn't we? On the outside, we were professional, calm, cool, collected, but on the inside, we were, well we were...



       Levi and Cath Kanye West Style! 



Rainbow began her writing life as a journalist. She lived with tight deadlines, so the leap to book publishing deadlines was really no leap at all (except of course for the length of the manuscript).  As a journalist, she needed to remain emotionally detached and present issues objectively. Journalism beat her voice right out of her. She doubted whether she'd recover from this loss, but we both know she did.  

Her first official YA Book was Fangirl. Of course, we all assume Eleanor & Park, but actually she wrote E&P as an adult book for her UK publishers. E&P became a YA novel when her publishers decided to bring it to the US.

Can you imagine Eleanor & Park as an adult book? Think of how many readers would be bereft of this wonderfully beautiful novel. It goes to show, YA readers possess excellent and discriminating literary taste.

But how does Rainbow create a teen voice? 

For Rainbow, it all begins with music. She creates playlists to jam to while she’s working on a novel. Fun songs, sad songs, happy songs, songs that reflect the mood she wants to capture in her story.  

Some scenes take weeks, and it’s difficult to maintain a certain mindset for two or three weeks straight and still live and function (theoretically) in the real world. Rainbow’s playlist serves as a mood placer, especially if she’s working on a sad or depressing scene. When it’s time to write, she hits play and BOOM!! the music transports her to the emotional temperature of a scene. 

WRITER TIP 1: Create a playlist for your novel. Songs should reflect moods of story/scene/character.


If Rainbow had to pick one song to capture Eleanor & Park, it would be Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod by the Mountain Goats. Take a listen.




WRITER TIP 2: Watch people. Watch how they interact. Pay attention to their body language. Listen to their conversations. Spend time at the mall, at the coffee shop, in the classroom. Anywhere teens hangout.  

WRITER TIP 3: Remember that you were once a teenager. Sure it was probably a different decade (or 2 or 3 or 4) but those fears, those hopes and dreams, and crushes are still the same. Capture the essence of your feelings and you capture the teen voice.

FANGIRL TIME: So Alison, we kept our cool during the session, but there was an entire room of fangirls and fanboys who wanted some Rainbow of their own. 

 Check out Lee Wind's smile. 


After her keynote, I went to her autograph party, and that was my opportunity to fangirl with her, and can I tell you, I totally did. I came home with an autographed collection of four of her books, a swag button, some stickers, and a fangirl picture of my own. 
Rainbow and Kim



So Alison, my Saturday at the #NY16SCBWI was filled with Rainbow and Books--not a bad way to spend an afternoon. And by the way, I'm reading Carry On and Simon Snow loves cherry scones--clearly he (and Rainbow) possess excellent taste in pastries that can serve as mid-morning breakfast or an afternoon treat, depending on one's mood.


Sharing the writing love one letter at a time,

Kim

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Adult Scavenger Hunt: Team Green's Lynn Stevens, Author of Full Count

Dear Alison and friends,It's that time of year again...Time for the New Adult Scavenger Hunt!!!!! 

Welcome to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was inspired as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! 
**KIM BONUS: I included my own RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY at the bottom. Don't forget to enter to win some free books!! 
At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team!But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 96 hours!
Go to theNew Adult Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the Green Team–but there is also a Blue Team for a ch…

FIRST SNOW by Bomi Park: Classroom Activity and Review

Dear Kim,


Let it snow!
Let it snow!
Let it snow!

We had fun with Bomi Park's gorgeous FIRST SNOW last week. We used the book as a mentor text to explore personal narratives and poetry.  We also explored watercolor resist techniques. (We also made a mess-- which is kind of my modus operandi during writing workshop. Sorry, Kelley!)

I used the sentence starter from the jacket copy:
Look up. One flake falls, then another. And just like that—it's __ __ __ __ __ __ __ .

The kids worked cooperatively at their table groups to discuss what word might fill in the blank. I love hearing them chat. 
"Well it is a snowflake because 'one flake'." 
Followed by: "No. It has seven letters, snowflake has nine." 
And: "It is an action. A-- what's that called-- a verb because it is something falling." 
Eventually we filled in the blank by using spelling clues to check our thinking, which might not sound like a whole lot of fun, but spelling is awesome and totall…

KIM NEEDS YOUR HELP!! Please, oh please!

Today is the day! STARR LOST, BOOK 2 of the STARR FALL SERIES is only...
and I need your help. I've purchased ads from some major social promoters, and if all goes well, STARR LOST will make it to the bestselling list.  Amazing things happen to authors and their books when they make the Bestselling list, so if you could purchase a copy or two (or three) for 99 cents it'll help hurl me to the top.

So, let's see what happens when we all combine our buying power together.
SUPPORT KIM BUY STARR LOST Ebook for $.99 AMAZON USA AMAZON CANADA AMAZON UK AMAZON AUSTRALIA

And to thank you for your WRITER LOVE, I'm running a  $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY... to enter, email a copy of your receipt to KimBriggs [@] KimBriggsWrite.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Write on, Kim