instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Blog

Brief Words of Wisdom from Keynote Speakers in LA

The Keynote speakers at the SCBWI conference in LA offered lots of information and inspiration for both new and seasoned writers and illustrators for children. I'd like to share a a few words of wisdom that I took with me from their presentations.

Jon Sczieska—Read the best and the worst; learn technique and details; leave room for the illustrator; your mission: be a story-teller.

M.T. Anderson (Tobin Anderson)—“Books take us away from home so that we can see home.” Language is key.

Editor Panel—they read cover letters; they want to know about you along with your writing.

Loren Long, Illustrator—MOOD and EMOTION are key or central, in characters and scenes.

Gordon Korman—“When we are writing for kids we are writing for ourselves.” Get a sense of what a kid thinks is cool; we are kids ouselves, only a little older.

Agents Panel—YA (young adult) is hot, but MG (middle grade) is coming back, including series, and especially MG directed toward boys.

Marion Dane Bauer—we read and write to reach an emotional resolution; our story begins in our own hearts; it’s about struggle; it begins in our neurosis.

E.B. Lewis—“Simplicity makes a book look wonderful.” It’s hard work to make that happen; do your research.

Gail Carson Levine—regarding predictability: we want to enjoy again what we’ve read before; regarding using suspense builders: ‘worries’ are a good way to end a chapter.

Panel on Narrative Nonfiction—go first to primary sources, then check your facts with secondary sources; all NF needs layers, emotion.

Carolyn Mackler—put your characters into situations; there is always an ebb and a flow.

Gennifer Choldenko—use the whole spectrum of feelings; every character is distinct; every detail must work; find the emotional core, feel your way through a story; write for the kid who needs your book.

Rachel Vail—write stories with both humor and heart; have a strong voice; through the laughter we can touch someone; write with compassion.

Paul Fleischman—on organization: the more planning, the less re-write is needed; document your research; read straight through and highlight what you want to go back to; every word and scene should be there for a reason.

Panel of Publishers—Stretch as much as you can; create a good story with good content and good writing; write for what you think is cool and entertain yourself; “If everyone writes for trends, the vampires win”

Ashley Bryant—“Poetry needs performance; there are voices that rise and fall”; poetry has rhythm that will carry or swell; try to bring the words alive, creating music out of words.

There's nothing like being there in person. But I hope you take something away from this post that inspires you.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Links to Information and Tips on Social Media for Authors

It's two and a half weeks later and I'm still typing my notes from the SCBWI conference in LA! Typing them is a great way to review what I've learned. And a reminder of what I still have to follow up on!

I thought that this week I'd share some great links that I picked up at the conference to information on social media for authors. Here goes!

"The Happy Accident: using social media to help create happy accidents" by Greg Pinkus. Go to www.thehappyaccident.net and read tips on facebook and blogging. Then go to http://www.thehappyaccident.net/scbwi-la/ for more links about social media.

"The Writers' Guide to Twitter" by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Go to http://www.inkygirl.com/a-writers-guide-to-twitter/ to read the basics of twitter and how it can help writers.

For everything you need to know about doing school visits, check out Alexis o'Neill's site at www.SchoolVisitExperts.com.

Get guidelines for doing Virtual Author visits on Bruce Hale's site at http://www.brucehale.com/virtual.htm.

Then check out book trailers for children's books at http://kidlitbooktrailers.ning.com/ and scroll down to some links.

Happy surfing!  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Golden Kite Winners and Conference Links

I returned from the SCBWI National conference in LA last week and am beginning to get my mind back. What a conference! With over 1,100 attendees, it was a wonderful meeting of other children's writers, editors, booksellers, librarians and others in children's publishing. It was also an update on the business of children's books, inspirational, and as always, a place to learn and improve your craft. I especially enjoyed meeting new people, seeing old friends, and sharing ideas and friendship with other Regional Advisors and Assistant Regional Advisors.

Read on-going highlights posted during the conference on the SCBWI Team Blog, led by Alice Pope at: http://scbwiconference.blogspot.com/

One of the highlights of the week was attending the Golden Kite Awards Luncheon on Sunday. The acceptance speeches were humbling and inspiring.

It began with Paul Fleishman presenting the award for humor, named for his father, children's author Sid Fleishman, who passed away early this year. The recipient was Alan Zadoff for his book, "Food, Girls and Other Things I Can't Have." Qualities that merit the award besides humor are depth, substance, and heart.

If you ever have the opportunity to hear Ashley Bryan speak, you will never again read poetry the same way. He ended his acceptance of the award for non-fiction by reciting a poem by Eloise Greenfield.

Accepting the award for picture book text, Marion Dane Bauer talked about the poetic language of a picture book. After which John Parra spoke about the illustration half of the book when he received the award for picture book illustration.

Julia Durango, our neighbor from the wonderful SCBWI group in Illinois, received the award for fiction and gave a heart-warming speech during which she said that she puts secret messages to her sons into her books.

Although honor recipients were not presented at the conference, it's worth noting here that our own Indiana SCBWI author, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, received the Golden Kite Honor award for fiction for her wonderful picture book, Bella and Bean.

Christopher Cheng, from the Australia chapter of SCBWI, was named SCBWI Member of the Year, and it couldn't have gone to a more deserving person.

Golden Kite Recipients:
Fiction: Julia Durango for "Sea of the Dead," S&S
Non-Fiction: Ashley Bryan for "Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life's Song," Atheneum
Picture Book Text: Marion Dane Bauer for "The Longest Night," Holiday House
Picture Book Illustration: John Parra for "Gracias Thanks," Lee & Low Books
Link to award recipients: http://www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/Golden-Kite-Award-Recipients

Congratulations to all!

More conference notes to come!  Read More 
Be the first to comment