- One of the excellent parts of a conference is traveling back and forth with a friend and talking about writing plus whatever, all the way there and back.
- Three ways to strengthen a character, according to Cheryl Klein, are by giving her an unusual desire, giving her some sort of expertise, and making that character liked by other people in the story. Make the people who dislike your character people the reader will also dislike.
- Writers aren't necessarily as quiet as we might think, based on the buzz of conversation during the late-night socials.
- One of my favorite quotes from the weekend, by Marsha Wilson Chall, is this: "Editors raise questions. Writers answer them." This is why I raise a lot of questions when I edit my ICL book course students' work. :)
- Another tidbit from Marsha: In a picture book, text is nouns and verbs, pictures are adjectives, and page turns are transitions.
- When presenting at a conference, and probably anywhere else, speakers must use Power Point. We've reached that, ahem, Point. Audiences expect visuals. And when you find funny pictures to use with your points, you have a great way to build humor into your talk without having to say funny things.
- Every single one of our speakers was animated, entertaining, and organized-yet-off-the-cuff, along with having an excellent visual presentation. They were great! Frankly, I've been to conferences where people read their presentations. That didn't happen here.
- Beach Lane Books wants to publish books that are truly for kids, not their parents. Refreshing, much?
- According to Andrea Welch, along with having a strong narrative arc, lovely language, and memorable characters, a story will do well to address an emotional or cognitive developmental need in the child.
- As an agent, Tracey Adams values communication with clients. This is great to hear, as we have all heard stories of communication breakdowns. What a writer needs to be able to do when signing with an agent is to trust that agent to submit to the right editors, negotiate the best possible deal, be knowledgable, and be accessible, and Tracey nailed it -- to me she came across as, above all, trustworthy.
- While reading craft books is necessary and helpful, studying published books for technique is just as important. Whether you're going to try a POV you haven't used before (first person, multiple, omniscient), explore using an unreliable narrator, or give wacky humor a shot, you can probably find a published book that has done it. Study it. How does it succeed? Is there any respect in which it could be better?
- Conferences are a shot in the arm!
- Conferences couldn't happen without all the dedicated folk who head statewide SCBWI chapters and do all the work of helping us meet, network with, and learn from industry professionals. We are so blessed to have these people, and in Wisconsin they abound. Thank you!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Processing a Conference -- Or, Unspinning Your Head, Part 2
In which we continue some random thoughts from the SCBWI-WI fall retreat, with the goal of both sharing and organizing them. :) Scroll down one for Part 1 of this post.