Friday, August 20, 2010

It's a Mango, It's a Pineapple, No, It's Paya!


No, PAYA! AKA, Bringing YA to PA, a coalition of authors, bloggers, librarians and readers dedicated to promoting YA literature in Pennsylvania. PAYA is having their first annual event...oh, TOMORROW, and my BFF Aine and I are going. There'll be over eighteen YA authors there, signing books, along with a used book sale, a listen and critique workshop, and a bake sale.

How excited am I? Probably a little too excited. It's like Christmas in August as far as I'm concerned. I even packed and prepped ahead of time. I never do that. Here's what I'm bringing to the Festival:
  • My backpack, with stylish Mockingjay pin attached (Team Katniss!)
  • Ten copies of the first three pages of my manuscript, Knights of Avalon, for the listen and critique workshop
  • Five pens, in case four of the pens run out of ink
  • Two notebooks, one is small and pink and covered in smiling kitty cats. I usually bring a larger, more practical notebook as well, but I just discovered they're all filled up, so I'll bring my leather-bound journal instead, aka "The Noodle Book," because I noodle around with ideas on its pages
  • Cash, for books and baked goodies

Though my latest manuscript, Knights of Avalon, is finished, revised, and currently running amuck in Query-land, I decided to do the workshop because I've never done one before and it promised to be an incredible learning opportunity.

Plus, I'm still having issues with the beginning of my book. I like to think that I'm getting a lot better at 'diagnosing' weaknesses in my work and fixing them, but in this case, my instincts are horribly off. What I think works doesn't work and vice versa. I've revised and revised and sometimes only made the problems worse, not better, so maybe I need to step back and get some perspective. Maybe if I can see what works for other writers, I'll be able to apply those lessons learned to my own story. That's the idea, anyways.

I know the draw of the listen and critique workshop is that there'll be several YA authors there to give feedback, but the reality just hit me, and oh my gods, THERE'LL BE PUBLISHED YA AUTHORS THERE TO GIVE ME FEEDBACK. La-la-la-la, I can't hear you! Not curling into a ball and freaking out.

Somehow I had convinced myself it'd just be me and some fellow writers. I think I could handle that. We'd be like The League of Not Yet Extraordinary Aspiring Authors, there'd be some comraderie and it wouldn't be at all scary. But now...there are going to be real, live, actual authors there. Yikes!


  1. Ooh, sounds like fun!

    I hope the feedback helps and I think you're very brave for sharing your work. I went to a critique workshop with a YA author once and she was super nice but still able to give me great criticism. It's not as painful as you might think! Good luck!

  2. Thanks so much! The feedback definitely helped. When I'm done zooming about like a Jack Russell on speed because I had so much fun, I'll post a more in depth update on how things went.