The more time I spend at this residency, the more ideas I get for my story.  How to fix aspects and problem areas of it. I know who my mentor will be for the semester now. Her name is Lesléa Newman. She has been published and has a marvelous  reputation among the students for her critiquing ability.  One girl said, “She doesn’t leave a single comma unchallenged.” She sounds marvelous.  Strict but marvelous. I’m looking forward to learning from her.

A lot of the suggestions that have been made about “Shadowed” are not new.  A few suggestions caught me by surprise, like the suggestion that the book have a prologue.  What? I’ve always heard prologues were bad ideas for first time writers. But they had some good points on why I should go with a prologue.  Others are just occurring to me as I attend lecture after lecture on writing.

But I’m seeing a major rewrite in my future.  And the major rewrite will require the complete removal of at least one scene and the rewriting of two or three other scenes to reconnect everything. But by making such a big change–removing the one scene I believe the story will be significantly sharper, stronger and add a few more layers to the characters. There is so much I want to change, to play with, to work with.  But I should probably wait until lectures are over. That way I’m not re-changing changes to my story in a rather short amount of time.

For those of you who follow me fairly close on twitter and Facebook, you’ve probably seen me ask for suggestions on what YA books and writing reference books I should read. The list grew quite long and my mentor told me she didn’t want me reading reference books for the papers I need to write.  I’m supposed to read the book and then write a two to four page essay on a specific element in the story, like description, dialogue and pacing. But she does encourage me to read reference books if I feel they’ll help.

So Lesléa and I came up with a list of ten books for me to read through the semester.  The books can be switched out later if I want but for now these are what I’m looking at for reading material. I’ll try providing a URL for each book as I read them. In no particular order this is my initial reading list:

Which books have you read?  Any suggestions on which order I should read them?
I’m thinking about posting my element paper and a book review on each book as I finish reading them, on separate days, of course. Would anyone be interested in that?  Leave answers in comments.