Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Opening L.A. Keynote

First up: The incredible Mr. Walter Dean Myers. He was raised in a foster family. His father was a janitor and he told us that to this day his parents still don't quite *get* what he does for a living. Once he heard his mother on the phone talking to a friend and she told the friend, "Walter's job is typing stories". Ha!

The following part of is talk is where I really connected with Mr. Myers. My roommate, Kristin, and I had this very discussion on the plane the previous evening as we flew over so I was pretty wowed when Walter talked about it in the very first hour. It felt like he was talking to me.

He posed the question: Why am I - or why are you - a writer? Here are some typical assumptions from the outside world:
Is he a writer because he comes from a family of storytellers?: NO
Is it because he loves words?: NO
Is it because he loves to play with language?: NO

He's a writer because he loves to create and he loves building world that only he can envision and create and then try to bring it to life for others. Books always took me out of the boring real world and into a new, better, and more exciting place and that's the reason I wanted to be a writer, too, from the time I was very young. I think books are BETTER than real life.

Walter went on to discuss searching for the details of our *world* and our characters. Not only physical details, but emotional details. Details that explode the moment, that re-create a moment, that re-define a moment in a familiar but new way that connects you to your readers. Selecting the right detail is what we do every time we sit down to write. Find the details that convince your reader.

I'm off to search for the right details for my WIP, The Healing Spell. Happy searching to you, too!

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