Saturday, February 20, 2010

One more juicy morsel from NY

Jacqueline Woodson told us to write our emotional autobiography.

My two cents: Simple. Profound. Easy. Excruciatingly difficult. Necessary. I don't remember who said when we write we open our veins and bleed onto the page, but for really great writing, it's true.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Last tidbits from NY

This is the last bite from the tasty NY conference, appropriately from Jane Yolen, who closed the weekend:

Even if the business of publishing is struggling, the business of story is not.

I love what she said about the first step, the un-covery: first you scratch at an idea, airing the linens of the mind.

She reminded everyone to enJOY the process!

BTW, I'm determined to be a better blogger this year, but don't get too used to daily blogs (I'm getting there!). Now stop reading, and write!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

NY Tidbits, again!

On crafting a career, Sheldon Fogelman had this to say:

Never stop writing with book #1 or never know which book will be published (he had a client who was about to give up after their first book didn't sell, then went on to be a smashing success with #4 or 5). You are a writer - your job is to keep writing.

Have a plan - where you want to go, what kinds of books you want to do. Be open to advice, to try things outside the box of what you already do.

Hmmm...some good things to think on, eh?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

NY Tidbits, Part Next (math is not my strength)

Susan Raab spoke about what's selling:

middle reader; early chapter books & emergent readers all the way to tween/teen. Mysteries/ghost stories are growing, some fantasy is softening. Classic picture books and those that have a nostalgic feel (classics-to-be) are the ones with staying power.

Everyone reminded us, without exception, not to write to trends, but rather to what's in your heart.

Friday, February 5, 2010

NY Conference, Bite 3 - yummy

This from Ben Schrank (Razorbill):

We don't care about the market - we make the market. Write to make a difference to a kid.

Alvina Ling (Little Brown) on literary fiction:

It's great're pulled along so you don't realize that nothing is going on (love that!). She said literary writing is laced with beautiful descriptions, where you savor each word. The plot unfolds beneath the surface, and there are small turning points, based on what the reader knows about the character. As an exercize, she suggested rewriting the first paragraph of a commercial book in a literary style.

Have fun!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tidbits from NY part 2

Libba Bray, launching us into the main part of the conference, had loads of goodies for all. Here are some highlights from NY:

All the things you try to hide from other people, those are the things you craft into your work. Risk taking is writing.

Don't go where your mind first wants to go. Trust not to force the story on the conventional track.

Find the cracks that let the light in. Allow your characters to be fully human, with flaws.

Take the fear in, welcome it. If it's not scary, there are no stakes. If there are no stakes, it's not worth writing. Lace your wings with your vulnerability. (I especially love that one!)

Libba is coming out to LA for our Writer's Day April 10th. She's so much fun, you won't want to miss!

Let's find our wings and fly!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bits of Wisdom & other tiddlywinks from SCBWI NY

I was going through my notes from the recent, chilly & energizing winter conference, and here are some goodies, picked up here and there like you'd pick things up at a farmer's market. These are much juicier, though, and can sustain you much longer. I'll post a few each day. Happy munching!

Aaron Hartzler, who MC'd the Writer's Intensive, passed on a metaphor he'd heard from Alvina Ling (Little Brown) about critiques. Pointing out the flaws in a manuscript is like telling a friend with great teeth that they have a bit of spinach stuck between them. The person telling you knows how great your teeth are, and they don't want anything there that will take away from them.

Some post-critique suggestions from the panel:
Arianne Lewin (Hyperion): wait & think before revising
Wendy Loggia (Delacorte): watch American Idol: work at your craft & be true to yourself
Allyn Johnston (Beach Lane): don't take yourself too seriously & get exercize to clear your head

Digest well, and look for more your next time back!