Thursday, March 9, 2017

March Meeting: Amazing and Surprising!

Last night’s meeting was fabulous. Adina Gillett, actor, director and 18-year member of Jet City Improv, reminded us that as kids, we were fountains of unbridled, messy ideas. But then we were sent to school where we learned all about fitting in and self-censoring. Improv is all about un-training that lesson, letting the messy and creative ideas once again spew forth. Improv teaches that instead of taking an idea – especially your own idea – and saying, “Yes, but…” you take that crazy idea and say “Yes, AND…” This immediately changes your outlook and shuts down that stupid inner critic. Adina ended her presentation with the challenge to pick a day and try to say “yes” to everything. Including, or especially, your own ideas. Try it!

Author Beth Bacon then took the stage to tell us about how surprising yourself in a story can really rock your story world. It was as if Beth and Adina had collaborated to perfectly meld their presentations together. Beth showed us how important it is to be open to that surprise, because it can lead to new things and show you where to go next. To prove it, she had us take a character from something we’re working on and have that character write a really pissed off letter to us (his/her author). The brave folks who read their letters were amazed and surprised by what they learned. Beth then showed us some tricks to encouraging those surprises. Of course, the downside to these surprises is that you might need to make a choice to change direction of your current story or save it for a whole ‘nother project. A wonderful evening full of positive surprises!

On another note, the 25th Western Washington SCBWI Conference is now at 90% capacity! Early bird registration ends this Saturday, so get on it! And don’t forget that Band: Books, our kidlit house band, is practicing for our conference Kid Lit Drink Night, Friday, April 7, from 7-10 p.m. Bring your instruments for the jam session! All welcome!

– Dana “Two” Sullivan

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