At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, writers can sign up for "All Shapes and Sizes: A Workshop on Novel Structure" with Chantel Acevedo. Whether you outline, or let the muse take you where she will, every novel must have a thoughtful structure to it. We’ll be discussing the fundamentals of how to structure your novel in this workshop. We’ll talk about scene building, the “tent poles” that hold your novel up, pacing, character motivation and more.
Chantel Acevedo has received many awards for her fiction, including the Latino International Book Award and an Alabama State Council on the Arts Literature Fellowship. A Cuban-American born and raised in Miami, Florida, Acevedo has spent time in Japan and New Zealand as a Fulbrighter, and currently resides in Auburn, Alabama, where she teaches at Auburn University. She is the editor of the Southern Humanities Review, the founder of the annual Auburn Writers Conference, and the author of two additional novels, Love and Ghost Letters (St. Martin’s Press) and A Falling Star (Carolina Wren Press), as well as a novel for young adults, Song of the Red Cloak. A new novel, The Distant Marvels, is forthcoming from Europa Editions.
What are you reading right now?
Carlos Zafón's The Prisoner of Heaven.
Where is your favorite place to write?
The little white writing desk in my bedroom.
If you weren't a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
I'm also a professor and editor, but if I weren't any of those, I'd work in a bridal store. I just love all those beautiful dresses and excited people on the threshold of this big event.
If you could switch places with one fictional character, who would it be?
Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I've always wanted red hair!
What do you hope attendees takeaway from Fall Conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop, panel, or Mart?
My workshop is about structuring the novel, so I hope they come away with a renewed sense of the project they're working on, and a possible way "through" it.
Charlotte is known as both "The Queen City" and "The Hornet's Nest." Does one of those nicknames ring more true for you than the other?
I've been only once, briefly, but I just loved the little crowns on the signage. Parts of town reminded me of London, strangely, so definitely it's "The Queen City" for me.
Sunday's "Brilliant at Breakfast" panel discussion is titled, "The Many Paths to Publication." What's the first thing you ever published?
A sci-fi story that was published in a magazine for high school writers. The magazine was called Beginnings, but I can't recall the title of the story!
Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
Moving, Page-turning, Educational.
What is the most frustrating or rewarding part of the writing process?
It depends on the day. Some days, the drafting is a pleasure, others, it's torture. Same goes for revision, trying to get published, marketing, etc.
What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
You don't have to stick to one genre. Sometimes, a story is actually a poem. Go with it.
If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
Toni Morrison's Beloved.
Describe your ideal literary festival. Who would give the keynote address? Who would be the featured readers? What else?
It would be quirky. I'd have John Green interviewing Marilynne Robinson, and those kinds of mix-ups. Toni Morrison would be the keynote. And maybe we'd have a seance and summon Shakespeare, and lay to rest all the rumors about his authorship.
Do you steal hotel pens?
Every chance I get.
The North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference runs November 21-23 in Charlotte. Registration is now open.