Turbo Monkey Tales is a group blog focusing on the craft, production, marketing and consumption of Children's Literature. We are illustrators, writers, animators and media mongrels. We are readers! We are published, unpublished and self-published; agented and searching, and 100% dedicated to our Kid Lit journey, no matter where we are on the path. Join our Tribe and grab a vine. The more the merrier!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ventana Sierra Advanced Writer's Workshop - Defining Giving Back




Greetings Turbo Monkeys

I write this from Carson City, Nevada, where I am experiencing the first ever Ventana Sierra Advanced Writers Workshop.




I’ve learned to include sales figures, articles and social media stats in my Pitch Kit by Laurie McLean.  http://forewordliterary.com






How to “turn” a pitch by Michael Bourret (and what the market is seeking at this moment)  http://www.dystel.com/staff/mike.html


To ask the right questions by Judith Curr

Why this book?
Who will read it?
How will you tell your readers about it?
... Most important “What kind of cake is it?”

Lorin Oberweger taught me that slow things should be told quickly and that fast things should be experienced slowly and with great detail.  http://www.free-expressions.com

This world builder learned from Emma Dryden that not only should I describe the physical landmarks but I should also create the tenets, values and emotions of the worlds I design.  And that the world within my characters should also be as deeply detailed.  



This is an amazing workshop and I highly recommend you be here next year.

But seriously, the biggest lesson I learned at Ventana Sierra was the definition of giving.

The faculty gave back their honorariums, others gave scholarships, Ellen Hopkins is giving back to writers...but the Ventana Sierra Organization is giving so so so much more.

Ventana Sierra was formed specifically to help highly motivated young people, who desired college or career training, but were financially unable to accomplish their goals to build solid career paths toward a more positive future. The application process is stringent, the expectations high. Those who enter the program must commit to a minimum of two years substance-free, and maintain a 3.0 GPA if they choose a college track. Those entering career apprenticeship programs must receive regular above average reviews by their mentors.
In exchange, participants will receive housing, tuition and books, transportation, medical care and life skills classes.
"We're new, so we're trying to jumpstart the program now. We have purchased our first house, which will serve up to six young people, and hope to purchase another house by the end of the year so we'll have living quarters for twelve, six boys and six girls. So it will provide housing, life skills classes, food, medical care if they need it—whatever assistance they need to be able to concentrate on learning or reaching career goals without having to, you know, struggle by living on the street, or by, or whatever. I just want to make it easy for them to be able to get that." 
 --  Ellen Hopkins

Take a moment from learning your craft, from designing your world and from your writer’s life and visit http://ventanasierra.org
Is there something you can give? 
Likes? Shares? Time? 
Have a wondrous day!

19 comments:

  1. What a privilege to know so many generous compassionate people in the kidlit community. Ventana Sierra is a great inspiration. I'd love to become more involved with this project. Thanks for sharing your great workshop experience, Craig!

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    1. it was like no other workshop i've ever attended. The quality of the writing was amazing...the amount of caring was beyond description.

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    2. Craig, that's because you were there. :) - Lia

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    3. Awww, I was just an observer! Wait...also a beast of burden...wait...also a chair...wait...also a cabbie...wait...

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    4. Definitely a beast of burden... sorry... it was the beast in you that drew me to ask so much of you!

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    5. Hahaha...I enjoyed every second of it...Not often a guy gets to flex in front of the ladies and not look like a total idiot...an idiot still but at least a useful one.

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  2. So glad you had a good time, Craig- and so jealous I wasn't there! Thanks for giving us a taste of what it was like.

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    1. Really really really great event. The break out sessions were elevated and deep. Not watered down for the newbie or the kid lit 101 crowd. Plus we had a teen writer group as well as adult writers too. You would have had a fantastic time. I wish you could have been there Sarah.

      Next year!

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  3. Wow - it sounds like it was a fantastic workshop. I'll have to start saving my pennies for next year!

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    1. For sure you should be there. I hear they might have a screenwriting tract next year....hmmmm wonder who might help with that?

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  4. Damn. This sounded so great. Thanks for sharing your experience. And thanks to Ellen Hopkins to being the best example I know.

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    1. Ellen is amaze balls! So generous of her time, knowledge and affection!

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  5. Critique groups were also great! I came home exhausted but re-energized! The two groups I was involved with were outstanding. The level of the writing was so high, I am absolutely inspired to carve out some much-needed writing time! I'm still smiling about your sword-wielding, sushi-serving heroine. She's definitely a character who will stick with people! I really needed to be around peers for a few days.

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    1. Cindie,

      You rock! It was so great to hear some adult writing for a change. I won't go into detail here but wow, Beach B**&^$es!!!

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  6. I love how you captured the quality of the workshop--incredible--and the quality of the program it supports--inspiring. It's hard to choose a favorite aspect of the weekend, but I sure do recommend people make plans to attend next year! June 20-23, 2014? Great job, Craig!

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    1. Awww Julie Bear,

      I didn't even get to give you a proper good bye hug and snuggle. Ellen had me lifting barges and toting bales...no wait...that was Susan HL and Lia...

      MIss you already.

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    2. You should have stayed to watch him lifting barges, Julie... quite the sight, those bulging muscles. :-)

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    3. Yes, indeed, t'was I. But could I have chosen a better beast?

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    4. OH great,

      Now i have a new nick name. I liked "Smart Ass" ...
      "Better Beast" less on the nose and more mystery

      Miss you gals!!!!

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