Tag Archives: Libba Bray

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!