Delving Deeper into the Art of Story Telling - AFCC Sessions Part 3

My conference triage is reasonably simple:
  • if I manage to glean a new sliver of information that enables me to improve my craft or 
  • happen upon a revelation that deepens my understanding of story telling or 
  • experience affirmation of a belief or method I am already practising, then I feel I have gained something useful.
The following round-up highlights some of the sessions I attended while swanning around the Asian Festival of Children's Content this year.

Deep Point of View (DPOV): What is it and How to Write It with Kathleen Ahrens 

Kathleen encouraged us to first re investigate our Intention - why we write. Knowing that then allows us to engage with the readers' emotions and therefore establish, DPOV.

She introduced us to different POV Characters and the tenses and view points they can be portrayed in for example, first person, third person, second person etc.
  • as narrator
  • omniscient
  • multiple viewpoints 
  • single major viewpoint

Deep Point of View

A way to connect with the main character through DPOV is to make them MOAN.
Making your characters MOAN avoids POV violation (telling not showing)

Delegates then had to learn to analyse text, their own included, for MOAN qualities.

An immensely useful exercise for writers of every genre.

Painting with Lines and Language with Briony Stewart

I'm not the world's best drawer. I mean, some days even I find it difficult reading my own handwriting but Briony calmly described how I and others can improve our linguistic paintboxes with figurative language, examples of which can be found in her beautifully evocative, Kumiko and the Dragon Series.

Briony outlined how exciting language is what kids love best. Not only is it fun, it can add to the richness of the text and expand imagination and vocabulary in the same ways vivid, detail laden illustrations can enhance the emotional tone of a story.

 As writers and illustrators, Briony's take away advice was to BE OBSERVANT. Create a Visual and Verbal Word Bank
Picture Books as Theatre: Creating Drama in Illustrations with James Mayhew

James Mayhew paint-forming for the Opening Night Ceremony of the AFCC
This was an entrancing session presented in theatrical style by a man who is not just a gifted illustrator but also a story teller with an innate sense of what works visually and viscerally for readers and viewers. 

James married the art of stage building with picture book writing when seeking to create a sense of anticipation and entertainment, maintaining that authors (and illustrators) are in essence, set designers, scriptwriters and story borders all in one. In being so, they must consider and research details involving:
  • costumes
  • setting
  • lighting (mood / colouration)
  • timing (when to hold things back and when to build momentum)
  • fit (when less is more, utilising space to get the story told properly)
As a picture book creator and addict of this exceedingly exacting art form, I hung on his every word.

Afterwards, during a quiet spell in between book signings, I was fortunate enough to sit with James and chat in more detail about the various staging aspects of the much studied, Where the Wild Things Are? We poured over it's many nuances, announcing suppositions as to reasons for and why things appeared as they did in this book. Only one thing may have improved our vigorous discussion, Maurice Sendak himself.


Come back soon, for even more session round ups.  I'll be highlighting moments from the Cross Media Platform conference.


Sheryl Gwyther said…
This is a fabulous feedback post, Dimity. It felt (almost) like I was there. I have just made a vow on your recommendation ... and depending on when it is, I shall go to the Festival next year! 😁😊😊😊
DimbutNice said…
Generous thanks to you Sheryl. And yes, you should aim to include it on your conference radar at least once. I believe it will be held over the (ours) Mother's Day weekend in May next year. Singapore is the country of focus. That will be something. :-)
Dee White said…
Great post, Dimity,

Fabulous update. So much really useful information. Particularly loved those tips about delving deeper into character.

Thanks for sharing :)

DimbutNice said…
My pleasure Dee, glad you got something out of it. Learning how to make your characters MOAN was fascinating, something we may be subconsciously aware of but rarely actively analyse. Kathleen schooled us how to do this on a micro and macro level also for pbs.
Unknown said…
Thanks Dimity for your generosity in sharing these fun festival highlights. MOAN is something worth knowing and studying and doing. Thank you and James Mayhew! Motivating and enjoyable. Thank you again
Dimity said…
My absolute pleasure, Kara. Like many of the sessions this year, I found them exceeding useful. MOAN in particular can be applied to every aspect of fiction writing. Thank you for dropping by, more insight hints on the way :-)
Well reviewed Dimity. These are some of things I need to become more confident with. Thank you kindly, Maria
Dimity said…
You're very welcome, Maria. Glad you found some use in this.

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