Every summer, Hollins arranges for a writer-in-residence to live on campus and meet with students to discuss writing. Last night, Marly Youmans spoke for the first time and then today, I met with her one on one.
Last night, she spoke mostly about her current project which is a book she is writing with her 13 year old son in mind. She is writing a book that has lots of action, plot twists, monsters, etc. BUT NO BORING DESCRIPTIONS OF LANDSCAPE. She read three excerpts from her works-in-progress (they don’t even have a publishing date yet), and I really enjoyed listening to them. The first book has evil robot librarians. Sounds like something my kids would like!
Back in April or May, we were told that if we wanted Marly to read a manuscript, we should send it to her ahead of time. I sent her the first 20 pages of my original ocean-inspired project thinking maybe she could give me some ideas to help me rectify pacing and point-of-view issues.
Her feedback was that she loved the family that I’ve created. She thought they were full of charm and very fresh. She thought my writing was most genuine when I wrote from their perspective. She saw no problems with my pacing, in fact she said mine was better paced than most of the other manuscripts she read.
Her constructive feedback was the villains in the story felt too “cartoony” and typical. One idea we threw around was that the villains felt too contrived when I was telling the story from their point-of-view, but perhaps if we see the villains from the kid’s point-of-view only, then it’s okay for them to be over the top because kids see people that way. I don’t know if that makes sense how I’m explaining it… but it made sense while we were talking and it makes sense in MY head.
If you want to check out Marly Youmans, her website is:
I have so much work to do for tomorrow, and I’m getting drowsy. Might need to go get coffee.