Saturday, September 26, 2009

Keynote Address by Caroline Cooney: How to Plot

Keynote address by Caroline Cooney, award-winning author of more than 70 books, 15 million copies sold. The Face on the Milk Carton sold 3 million copies.

Caroline Cooney said the question people, mostly adults, ask her is “Where do you get your ideas?” After getting an idea, Caroline says she chooses the setting next.

“The lead character is what matters to your readers,” she said. “The character can be flawed, but nice works better than not nice.”

The most terrifying plot in YA is a character without friends. She decides whether to give a character friends or not.

Next question after choosing idea, character & setting: “Now What?”
A writer is always looking for ways to increase the tension.
What is the character’s reason for the Now What?

Adults take over the action. Caroline says don’t let them! Keep the grown-ups off stage.

“I like to write a book about good people trying to do the right thing when there is no right thing to do.”

Details are important in YA. How old is your character?

Never have your character be truly alone.

“Half the battle in writing is confidence. It’s just like baseball, you have to go out there and swing that bat.”

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