Sudipta offers a variety of writing workshops for aspiring writers.
Strong Beginnings If you don’t hook an editor in the first 100 words, the reality is that your picture book will likely go unread.A good beginning is intriguing and difficult to write.This interactive workshop involves participants bringing in the beginning of a work-in-progress (WIP) – the first 10% of the word count – alongside a synopsis.The beginnings are chosen at random and evaluated as a group – does it captivate the reader?Does it give a strong foundation for the story?Does it foreshadow the events?Also, I talk about how different beginnings in my own work have evolved, pointing out strategies that work or that do not.
Pacing in Picture Books How long should a picture book be?How much stuff should happen?How much time can I spend on descriptions versus action?These questions common to the picture book writing process all have to do with pacing – and a properly paced manuscript is much more satisfying to read.This workshop discusses the building blocks of picture book writing, from beginnings and ends, to twists, gear shifts, and dark points.We also discuss different story forms and the gray areas around different “rules”of pacing.
Where’s the Heart?: Giving your picture books a timeless quality One of the biggest things editors are looking for these days in a picture book manuscript is a timeless quality.What is going to make the reader pick this book up over and over again?Focusing on the heart – that feel-good quality that causes an emotional reaction in your reader – can make your manuscript stand out from the submissions pile.This workshop discusses using theme, character, and other elements to create a timeless story.
Humor Me: Making your audience laugh Getting a giggle out of your reader is a sure way to make an impression.In picture books, the humor has a double challenge – we must make a 5 year-old laugh while amusing his or her parents or teachers.In this workshop, we discuss ways to appeal to funny bones of all ages, using techniques like visual humor, word play, bodily functions, and food choices.Participants are asked to bring in humorous passages from their WIPs to evaluate as a group for child-appeal and grown up-appeal.
Editing Yourself There are two big rules for picture book manuscripts: (1) If your picture book is more than 750 words long, there needs to be a good reason; and (2) You can always cut another 10% of the word count.This workshop teaches good editing techniques, and how to tell whether a scene is necessary or just there for the writer’s sentimental reasons.We discuss considering the art and leaving enough room for the artist by editing away illustratable details.Participants are encouraged to bring passages from their WIPs that can be edited as a group.
Picture Book Biographies A very popular new sub-genre of picture books is the picture book biography.In this workshop, we discuss the general form of a picture book biography, the writing style, how to choose an appropriate subject, and how to target these submissions.We also discuss writing appropriate back matter to accompany manuscripts of this type to maximize the effect of the submission.