Lady learning from computer cartoon
July 28, 2020

Good Information & Good Inspiration

By Jamie Bills

Free Community-Wide Shop Talk with Jay Whistler

Sunday I was able to listen to a live presentation from Jay Whistler (hosted by Michigan-SCBWI). The presentation was titled, “From Slush Pile to Signing”. Until I find a literary agent, I will seek out all of the tips I can get my hands on!

Jay Whistler shared a lot of good information. I was particularly grateful for her advice on what to include and what not to include in a synopsis. As a picture book writer, I cringe a little when an agent ask for a synopsis. I always worry my synopsis will end up longer than my actual story. Hahaha. Any tips on what to leave out (for example, “don’t talk about themes in a synopsis”) are a blessing.

A couple specific quotes I loved from Jay Whistler:

  • “Everything has to be earned.”
  • “What does a character stand to lose if he doesn’t get what he desires?”
  • “Even feel good stories have to have tension and stakes.”

Inspiration From My Writing Hero- Doreen Cronin

Monday I was looking through Doreen Cronin’s website and came across her blog posts. Her last post was dated October 26, 2018. I believe may have read through this post in the past, but for whatever reason it really resonated with me this time.

Doreen’s post was titled, “Inspiration” and that is exactly what she provided for me. If you are a writer, I would suggest reading the entire article yourself.

I was inspired by her humility to talk about the times in her life when stories didn’t come as easy. She also humbly admitted that although she writes everyday, much of it is “unusable, hideous, boring, nonsensical” and that “usually the uninspired work comes first and somewhere in the first draft or third draft or 18th draft, something from that work stands out, pops out and screams for attention.”

It is so easy for me to see successful writers and imagine that everything they write down is golden; that their ideas are always flowing like waterfalls.

Doreen Cronin said, “In the heart of every story is conflict- or a problem. Find yours. Use yours. Give your problems away to your characters. See what they do with them.”

She also said, “Just write it…it will start you down a path where you don’t know what’s coming. That is where you want to be. That’s where inspiration likes to hang out.”

Jamie Bills