"What would 10-year-old you want to read that grownup you can make?" With that one stroke, artist Tony Diterlizzi rocketed the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators into an incredible weekend of workshops and speeches. More than 1200 of us came together in LA to learn (and yes, to dance!).
My best guess is that I last attended 10 years ago. That's too long! It was great to come back as an author and to continue to learn. If you're a pre-published writer (as they call it), you can gather your own inspiration from the official blog of the SCBWI conference here.
Here is my favorite advice (culled from twitter!):
"Great writers use anticipation more commonly than surprise." -- Arthur Levine
"Separate the writer from the editor, the editor from the critic, and dump the critic." -- Karen Cushman
"Look to see what might have washed up on the shores of your story." -- Cushman quoting Tim Wynne-Jones
"Don't burn your manuscript; instead, set your heart on fire." -- Ruta Sepetys
"Quiet holds emotions. Make time for ideas to emerge." -- Deborah Underwood
"In a culture that has ceased to cherish its children, you are called to service....to cherish your readers." -- Gary Schmidt
There is nothing better than being in the society of your peers. And the reason I write was reaffirmed: To tell the truth.
Crowded hallways, subway cars, and airplanes. It's not very comfortable is it? I sometimes get that closed-in feeling, and the only solution is to hold very still, as if I am disappearing.
Some crowds are just too many people in a small space. Other crowds can feel bigger than they are, especially if they are menacing.
That's the way June feels when she finds herself in the middle of a hostile crowd outside the library.
Fortunately, the world of book publishing is the first kind of crowd--just too many books in a jammed freeway of information. How can MY MIXED-UP BERRY BLUE SUMMER stand out?
With help. Lately I've realized how wonderful the writing community is. Slowly, like a spring vine, I'm connecting with booksellers and authors, fans and friends on twitter and Facebook. Everyone has been so supportive!
The care I've taken with the words and story will show, I hope. The book is baked, and in one month it will be on the shelves, ready for young readers.
Here's what I've been thinking and writing about. I love getting email, too!