A Café Chat with Author Meg Eden Kuyatt, by Laura Parnum

Author Meg Eden Kuyatt will be offering a webinar through the Eastern PA SCBWI in May titled Bones and Narrative Energy: The Synopsis as a Roadmap. In preparation, Laura Parnum used the synopsis as a roadmap to guide her virtual café chat with Meg here on the EasternPennPoints Blog.

A Café Chat with Author Meg Eden Kuyatt, by Laura Parnum

Laura: Hi, Meg! Welcome to the EasternPennPoints Virtual Café. As we chat over our keyboards, I’m enjoying a huge mug of Earl Grey tea and piece of banana chocolate chip bread. Is there anything you’re sipping or munching on right now?

Meg: I just finished off some “POG” (passion fruit orange guava) green tea, and am sneaking inside for a chocolate peanut butter oatmeal brownie as we get started.

Laura: We’re so excited to host your upcoming webinar about using a synopsis as a roadmap. So let’s use a synopsis as a roadmap for our chat today. First up—the inciting incident! Was there any one moment in your life that drove you to becoming an author?

Meg: I love this idea! It’s hard for me to clearly identify my inciting incident, if I’m honest—maybe because it feels like my writing story is just beginning in some ways! There are a few that could potentially count: Seventh grade, when all my friends were writing poems on a poetry site. Eighth grade, when my history teacher said I was a good writer. Senior year of high school, when I entered a music writing contest and a creative writing contest and asked God to show me what to do based on the results of that—and I was a finalist in the creative writing contest. Though really, an inciting incident is something that changes your world that you have to respond to. So maybe it was in senior year, when I wasn’t admitted into AP Art, and my petty response was to stop taking art seriously and become more serious about writing. I could’ve responded by being, well, not petty—but the silver lining is that it made me want to be more serious about writing!

Laura: It’s so interesting how small moments can lead to big decisions on life’s roadmap. Next up—the fun and games. In your writing life, what are the fun parts? What are the challenges or obstacles?

Meg: The fun and games were probably the early successes. I got my first agent my junior year of high school and was sure that meant I would become a famous writer before college! Hah! The challenges came after high school, in college, grad school, and early adulthood, when I expected to see faster, bigger results than I did. When instead of instant acceptances, I hit hundreds and hundreds of rejection letters. Some of the hardest challenges were parting ways with my first two agents. The second one broke up with me, and I was absolutely devastated—that was definitely my “lowest of low” right before the break into three! But I had a friend tell me that “this is when most people would give up.” She really encouraged me to keep going despite the obstacles.

But the fun parts are those aha moments—when I don’t know what I’m writing, but I sit down faithfully to the page and discover something I didn’t expect! That’s my favorite part of writing. The challenge is sitting down and actually writing!

Laura: I know what you mean! Let’s head for the midpoint. In your writing and publishing journey, specifically for your debut middle grade novel, Good Different, which just released April 4 (congratulations!), was there a moment when something threw a complete curve ball your way? Perhaps something that raised some stakes or really created a big change?

Meg: There are a few events that might fight for that spot, but it’s probably been job transitions. When I started working part time, the financial stakes for this writing thing to really work out began escalating!

Laura: I’m sure! Let’s skip on over to the finale of publishing your first middle grade novel. What was your storming-the-castle moment?

Meg: Ooof, I’m not sure! Probably working on my future book proposals! Publishing Good Different has been a suspiciously smooth process. That hasn’t been the case for other books, and so I’ve been storming the castle with other projects, having to accept that they may be harder than Good Different was, but doing the work anyway!

Laura: That’s great! And, finally, how do you feel you have transformed in the course of your writing journey?

Meg: I’ve been knocked down a few pegs! I like to think of the narrative journey (which we’ll talk more about in the webinar) as a character starting out with a misbelief, or a wrong way of solving the problem, but in act three they have to learn the right way of solving the problem. My misbelief was narcissistic pride that my writing was just the most amazing thing ever, and my wrong way of solving the “problem” of a writing career was to keep pushing and pushing to be considered the very best. God’s sent me lots of humble pie through this journey and while I’m still a work in progress, I’m definitely learning that I have so much to always learn, and that each book teaches me a little more of ways I need to grow.

Laura: Wow, that was quite the hero’s journey! Let’s end things with a quick lightning round to get to know you even better and really flesh out your personal character.

Favorite place to write: On my patio

Current book you’re reading: Lei and the Fire Goddess by Malia Maunakea

Fictional setting you’d like to visit in real life: The Pokemon world!

Any pets? Two cats: CT (Chaos Theory, lives up to her name) and Hazel (nicknamed “Floaf” as she is a fluffy loaf of a cat!)

Are you a morning person or a night owl? Morning, though some projects surprise me with night owl inspiration.

Laura: Well, thanks so much for chatting with me today! I’m really looking forward to your webinar, “Bones and Narrative Energy: The Synopsis as a Roadmap.”

Meg: Thanks so much for having me, Laura! I’m so excited to talk more about synopses!

Meg Eden Kuyatt is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and teaches creative writing at colleges and writing centers. She is the author of the 2021 Towson Prize for Literature winning poetry collection “Drowning in the Floating World” (Press 53, 2020) and children’s novels, most recently “Good Different,” a JLG Gold Standard selection (Scholastic, 2023). Find her online at https://linktr.ee/medenauthor.

Webinar Information

Monday May 8th, 2023 at 6:30pm Eastern time:

Bones and Narrative Energy: The Synopsis as a Roadmap

Session Description

When an agent or editor requests a synopsis, the process of honing our novel down into such a small space can be dread-inducing. However, writing a synopsis can help us reflect on the larger themes and values of our work, helping us focus and tighten our narrative structure–or even lay out a road map for a future project. In this workshop, we’ll use the synopsis as a frame for discussing the bones and beats of plot, as well as using it as a guiding light through the drafting and editing process. In our time together, we’ll practice getting to the heart of our projects through writing a one-line pitch, and using that pitch to outline our synopses.

A limited number of paid critiques with author Meg Eden Kuyatt are available. See the registration page for details.

For more information and to register, go to https://epa.scbwi.org/events/webinar-bones-and-narrative-energy-the-synopsis-as-a-roadmap/.

(Presentations will be recorded. All participants registered prior to the event will receive the recording links.)

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