Full Novel Workshop Recap

On Aug. 27, SCBWI Austin members enjoyed a day of full-novel-workshopping with authors Anne Bustard (ANYWHERE BUT PARADISE), Greg Leitich Smith (CHRONAL ENGINE) and P.J. Hoover (TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE).


Anne started the day with an in-depth look into how to create memorable and complicated characters. She went into her toolbox — desire lines, POV, etc. — to teach the art of writing characters’ personalities so they soar off the page and into readers’ minds.


Greg discussed the “lemmas of setting” or the stepping stones of what setting should do in a novel in order to create a well-realized world. He showed how setting reveals character, sets geographical constraints, sets floral and fauna and temporal constraints, etc. Attendees participated in drawing their settings, describing sounds that would wake up (and not) their protagonist, as well as describing the homes of both the protagonist and antagonist.


P.J. focused on story structure — from the call-to-adventure and refusal of the call to the first threshold (doorway of no return) and climax — and raising the stakes along the way. In addition to the plot points, she talked about character growth and what each character signifies in the story. Is the character a hero, mentor or trickster?


To wrap up the day, the group shared revision tools and gave each other tips on editing. It was a successful day for all attending and we look forward to offering this workshop again. Thanks to our wonderful and esteemed lecturers!