Get an Attitude!


This weekend, I attended the Arkansas SCBWI fall retreat, held at the beautiful Mt. Magazine State Park. This mountain rises out of the Arkansas River valley to the dazzling height of 2700 feet, making it a perfect place for hang gliders. From the stunning new lodge, there is a 1 1/2 mile hike to the site that marks the highest point in Arkansas. We used to take our kids camping at Mt. Magazine and hike to this spot, where the kids would then climb a tree.mtmag.jpg

Briefly, Candlewick editor Hilary Breed van Dusen, author Katy Duffield (who just won a Letter of Merit Recognition from the SCBWI Works in Progress grants–Hurrah!) and myself were the tallest people in Arkansas.

Author Kathi Appelt brought lots of ideas for us to think about. Here’s one that had me thinking all weekend is this. Characters should have both a goal and a controlling attitude.

For example, a goal might be this: Beth wants to learn to ride a bike. Beth’s controlling attitude, however, might be that she is a klutz and will never be able to learn.

It may just be another way to state the inner conflict, but the idea has made me think about characters and their stories in a slightly different way. Thanks, Kathi!

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