Monday, June 8, 2020

Digital Workshop 2.1: Tracey Baptiste

Introducing Guest-Blogger: Avery Silverberg

Hey, SCBWI Blog Readers! My name is Avery, and I am going to be guest-blogging the rest of our Digital Workshop 2.0 series. I am the admin assistant over at SCBWI headquarters -- some of my daily responsibilities include talking to members and answering all of your questions, planning for the Golden Kite Awards by logging all the incredible books, helping out with all of our social media platforms, and so much more. Some fun facts about me are: my goal this year is to read 75 books (ah!), I have an unhealthy obsession with early 2000’s romantic comedies, and I fangirl over young adult contemporary novelist’s like it’s Coachella. I graduated college last year from Chapman University with a BFA degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Education. 

Digital Workshop 2.1: Tracey Baptiste 

The World Isn’t Flat: World Building for Realistic and Fantasy Stories

Before Lin introduces Tracey, we begin with a few minutes of silence to honor the death of George Floyd.  “Our voices are powerful,” Lin says. “We are writing for children, and our work determines what type of adults they grow up to be. Along with the sadness we feel, I hope we can also feel hope, that we can be a part of the solution.”

New York Times Best-selling author, and MFA Creative Writing Professor at Lesley University begins her workshop with a poll: What do you think is the most important part of world-building? 

  1. Characters

  2. Landscape

  3. Plants/Animals

  4. Language 

  5. Time

  6. Culture 

Although culture wins by 43%, Tracey explains, “The reason I always start with time is because when a story begins, when there is action, action is measurable in time.” She moves through each category and the following mentor texts, explaining why each device is needed to move the story forward. In terms of fantasy, Tracey contextualizes how you can use each device to “talk about things indirectly and give the same info. you would if you were talking about it directly.” She encourages viewers to use these devices as means to not shy away from the difficult topics that kids need to learn. 

Tracey's digital workshop was applicable to both fantasy and contemporary writers. "In some books, there are instances when the author uses time in new and interesting ways to show you what kind of world they are in.” All devices, characters through culture, are specific choices the writer chooses to amplify the world the reader is inside.

"See" you, next Thursday!

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