A Great Storyteller
At our first SCBWI Writer’s Day, Sandy held a workshop on character. She insisted that you should know everything about your main character. Ordinary things like what they like to wear, what they’re good at and bad at, how they talk ... but also things like how they wipe snot from their nose and what’s in their pocket.
When I last met up with her in December, our chit-chat soon turned to my writing. As usual, I said that I was struggling to find more time and space to work on my novel.
Sandy thoughtfully took a bite out of her two desserts (she particularly enjoyed sweet things at this point in her life) and asked me what my character's favourite food was. We chatted for a bit about Belinda. On Monday, Sandy sent me a note
As for Belinda - I have heard from the wee beastie and she is definitely miffed at being sidelined for so long. She has, however, agreed to give you peace until you fly home for Christmas, but the minute you hit cruising altitude that girl plans to prod, pinch and poke you until something truly splendiferous is conjured up for her to deal with. So be forewarned ...(sound of haunting background music here)... ignore this child at your peril (insert lightning flash and thunder clap here).
Your friendly neighbourhood nag and committed cohort of Belinda,
P.S. B confessed that she has a truly obnoxious middle name, which has resulted in even more vexatious nicknames and considerable consternation at the worst possible moments in her life. Wonder what it is?
Wow! Now that's got me thinking!
Sandy spent an incredible amount of time inspiring children to enjoy stories. She got heaps of good feedback for her own writing but also set up a Young Writers Award at a local school. Shortly after the SCBWI Winchester Writer's Day, she sent me this note:
The content and calibre of the work is terrific - partly because they are so good at following up on the workshops I give them a few times each year on incorporating dialogue and powerful verbs into their stories, for instance. Some of the winning entries show more promise than adult students I have taught over the years. In fact, recent winners have been lauded by one inspector as being three years above the standard composition level for their actual age group, so it proves kids can and do learn when you stimulate the right buttons! That is really gratifying to me.What a wonderful inspiration she was to all of us writers in showing us the power of our skills in helping to shape the next generation of readers.
Sandy had heaps of energy and was always willing to help with the SCBWI. She wrote numerous insightful articles for Words & Pictures, spoke at two of our Writer's Day conferences, and generously critiqued members' work from afar. Her contribution will be much missed!
Sandy did truly live every minute to the fullest, always full of laughs and stories even as her illness progressed.
She was a very special friend and we were lucky to have her in our SCBWI community!
Regional Advisor, SCBWI-BI