Tag Archives: conference

A Second Helping of SCBWI Love

Wow!  Fourteen hours of speakers and sessions, good food and friend-making is…just wow!

Big Picture Book Industry Tip: Your story must be started by page 10.  If you are still writing details and your MC isn’t on his/her journey, then consider a rewrite.  More from Candace Fleming at a later date.

Editor Allie Brydon speaks on sloshing out of the slush pile.  Her big tip on writing for kids?  “Write simpler, not simplistic.” 

Editor Molly O’Neill presented the business side of the industry.  Her mantra, “Write your own story, not someone else’s.”  And no, she doesn’t mean churn out memoirs.  She simply means that writers need to be original in their own works.  We need to find our own stories and storytelling from within us.

Diane Muldrow, Editorial Director of Golden Books/Random House and author, recapped the amazing history of children’s literature in America.  If you don’t know it, study it.  You’ll have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of what it means to write for kids. 

I can’t say enough about Lin Oliver.  I sat by her at lunch and she’s sweet and charming and concerned and caring and supportive and amazing and…well, you get the picture.  Did I mention she’s also the co-founder of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators?  Yeah, that was totally cool!

I’ve learned oodles today and can’t wait to digest it all. 

It’s also ten thirty and I have another five hours of conference tomorrow followed by a seven hour drive home. 

Time for bed!

PS.  I’d love to totally dish on my agent cuz he rocks my socks off.  We had several delightful, insightful and just plain fun conversations today.  Can’t wait to listen to him present tomorrow. 

PPS.  Can I just say wow?!?!?!

A Little Taste of SCBWI Love

So, I finally made it to the other end of the world.  Seriously, from the West Corner of Minnesota to the East side of Iowa is a freakin’ haul.  But, I’m glad I made the journey.

Bubbly, humorous and oh-so-kind (she helped me fill my water glass) Editor Molly O’Neill presented two mini workshops for us today.  One was a writer’s boot camp to help us get to know our characters better.  The second was an in-depth look at 25 book beginnings that caught her eye.  It was fabulous to  hear her express why each of these first words made her editor’s heart go pitter patter.

In the end, it was all about connection.  Yes, there are more kinds of connection than simple character connection.  Many more kinds.  To name a few: setting, familiarity and tone.  And once she connects, there is one sure-fire way to get her more deeply engaged in a story.

In her words: “It delights me when a character does something unexpected, but in character.” 

The moral: Writer, know thy character.  Henceforth the boot camp.

On Rejection: It doesn’t mean the story isn’t any good or that a writer can’t writer.  It just means “I personally didn’t react to this in a way that makes me the best advocate.”

So there.  No does not mean we have failed.  I just means our story failed to create a stong enough connection with one particular agent/editor.

And on a whole new level: I met Agent Awesome–sat by him at the opening, as a matter of fact.  I also met another one of his clients.  Imagine that, two clients within six hours of each other.  That’s a pretty big deal when you consider writers the sheer miles it took to get here!  And she’s super sweet.

Well, really, all writers who attend SCBWI conferences are sweet.  I’ve been to five over the years and never once have I found any highschool drama.  There are no prom queens among us.  We are all working toward our dream of putting our writing into the hands of children.  And that is enough to humble the published and support the newbies.

SCBWI rocks…and not just because their directions were impeccable.

Okay, time to decompress with a good book and a little sleep.  More to come tomorrow.  Also, you can follow me in real-time @catewoods on twitter breaks.

hugs and good night