51 — Writer’s Day Block

Yesterday was the SCBWI-LA’s Writer’s Day and the combined creative talent seated in that one room was enough to give little me writer’s block…and inspiration too, of course. Half of me wanted to hightail it to my desk and get to work with renewed fervor. The other, LARGER half, insisted I hide in humiliation and quit claiming I’m a writer.

Maybe that’s why Libba Bray, (yes! Libba Bray!) spoke about inner critics and advised us to make them take a hike.

But first, she wanted us to nickname those nasty ogres so that we could call them right back at revision time. Well, I have a good plenty of names for that unrelenting so and so, most of which are not mentionable outside the confines of my badly battered brain. As for asking Beater and Biter to take a hike…well, not so easy. Don’t think I’ve tried! We know who’s boss around here. Though, Libba’s hilarious and passionate speech did give me the motivation to try harder. Are you listening, High Priestess of Harangue?? Hmmm, I can’t even wipe the smirk off her face.

Here I am pleading with Libba to talk to the Wizard of Water Torture for me. No go.*

More of Libba’s wisdom — “Some days your writing will suck — that is OK!”

The wonderful editor Rachel Abrams from HarperTeen had so many tips on how to create that Wow! Factor in your novel:
About dialogue — “Sometimes what you don’t say speaks the loudest.”
About descriptions — “Fondle the details.”
About plot — “A good story is where bad things happen.”
And most of all, “Avoid adverbial speech tags,” she said, wisely.

Agent Jill Corcoran, picture-book author Lisa Wheeler, and middle-grade author Kathleen O’Dell kept us laughing and learning the rest of the day.

Best of all, was meeting so many other writers from our incredible region, old friends and new, who reminded me yet again, that I am not alone on this brain-battering, mind-expanding, mesmerizing journey.

Thank you all for being there, along with your inner critics.

*Photos of Libba Bray taken by Lupe Fernandez. Thanks, Lupe!

14 thoughts on “51 — Writer’s Day Block

  1. Pat/Tricia O'Brien

    Hi Rilla. You are the third blog today I’ve read on Writers Day. It seems everyone was inspired! Wish I’d been there, for sure. Lupe got some nice pix of you. Thanks for sharing (next best thing to being there).

    1. rillajaggia Post author

      Hey Pat,
      it was a really wonderful day. Wish you could have been there with us! Lupe did a great job with the pictures, didn’t he? I was so glad I remembered to take my camera. Of course, I only recalled I had it with me at the end of the day! Can’t wait to hear how your writing’s going.

  2. Lynnerd

    Hi Rilla! Thanks for writing about Writers Day. Sounds like you got a lot out of it. Nice pictures, too. You are so busy these days, and we sure do miss you. Keep up the hard work, and don’t doubt your talents! Your writing rocks!

    1. rillajaggia Post author

      Hey Lynnie,
      Wish you could have been there. You would have loved Libba. She’s hilarious. Miss you too. Will be back on track before too long. So great to hear all the fun you are having with Monster Moon.

  3. Katia Novet Saint-Lot

    Rilla, your hair is so long, I didn’t even recognize you on the pic until I read the caption. How is that for crazy? You look fantastic, and you’re the first person I know who looks younger with long hair than short one. What’s your secret?
    As for the inner critics, etc, etc, I’ll retain one sentence from your post today. “Some days, your writing will suck… that’s OK.” That was me yesterday, so while you were basking in this great, creative, and inspiring atmosphere, I was sweating on my homework and doing a very poor job. But hey, if Libba Bray says it’s OK, who am I to argue ?

    1. rillajaggia Post author

      Oh Katia,
      Friends like you are the perfect foil for that Terrible Taskmistress, my inner critic. Now, if only she would believe what you say!
      Glad to hear you are working on your homework. I have been too. My only problem with Libba’s quote is her qualifier — “Some days” What if my writing sucks EVERY day. Not so OK I’m thinking!
      Back to homework, now–and sucking.

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  5. C.K.

    “Fondle the details.”

    You gotta love that advice!

    You know what I hate about the inner critics? They play dirty – there’s nothing they won’t use against you. Is that your cat at the top? Maybe I can borrow her to hunt down the bastards.

    1. rillajaggia Post author

      Hola C.K.

      What a great idea! I’d never thought to turn Bratty Cat on to Miss Demeanor. There are so many pests to hunt down in my brain, they’ll keep Bratty busy a good long time and the poor lizards in the yard will get a break. Sure you can borrow the little monster, anytime. Just come on down!


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