Sunday, August 29, 2010

Favorites from the Summer Conference

Author Carolyn Mackler (The Earth, My Butt & Other Big Round Things) said:

"I stepped away and let the character become herself."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Favorites from the Summer Conference

Here are a few juicy tidbits from the non-fiction panel, that transfer so well into fiction:

From Susan Campbell Bartoletti re research:

"If research stays in the middle, that's where stereotypes live. Research to the edges." She added, "Visit places you write about, feed your senses and emotions. Study the language." She also wonders "what emotion is driving this scene?" and goes to primary sources, since they "breathe history to life".

From Deborah Heligman:

"Let the content dictate the form. Keep yourself open."

Tanya Lee Stone agreed:

"Keep asking what the story is you want to tell. Forget about what you think it's supposed to be. The content will find the format."

And from Betsy Partridge:

"Have multiple layers or you'll have a boring book."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Favorites from the Summer Conference

The wonderful and prolific Gordon Korman said:

"What you think is cool is probably nbot that different from what kids think is cool."

"Sometimes it's luck, but I think sometimes it's being a little mule-headed about it. All our careers are really not that different from each other - we all try a lot of difrferent things. Like pasta, throw enough of it at the wall - something's got to stick."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Favorites from the Summer Conference

Author Coleen Paratore (The Wedding Planner's Daughter) told us to catch inspiration when it comes to us, like we caught fireflies in jars when we were kids.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Favorites from the Summer Conference

Some fun tidbits from the editor panel:

Claudia Gabel (Katherine Tegen Books, HC) and Nick Eliopulos (Scholastic Press) both said, when asked their pet peeves, that it's cover letters and synopses without personality. Jen Rees (Scholastic) mentioned unprofessional covers/synopses.

Claudia Gabel also said, when speaking of the slush pile: "keep plugging away until you find that editor who gets you."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tidbit from the Summer Conference

MT Anderson gave a luscious speech, touching on the mood of place, the romance of geography. Here are a couple of quotes:

"Books take us away from home so we can see home again, see what we know in a new way."

"Twist the known; take something familiar and make it unfamiliar." He said that makes it even scarier.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Favorites from the Summer Conference

John Scieszka said "Your mission is to be a storyteller. Write what thrills you."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

From Julie Strauss-Gabel

Presenting master teacher, editor and Assoc. Publisher at Dutton Children's books, Julie Strauss-Gabel:

There is no such thing as "mine". A book is a collaborative experience. It's usually understood that publishing is collborative...but so is reading. If your goal is to be published -- to be read -- readers are always going to bring their own interpretive lens to your words; it now belongs to them. Some may disagree with you. Some may not want to keep reading. The only control you have over what they take away from your book is to build an irresistible and convincing world on the page.

Not all readers (including those in the business, from agents and editors to reviewers) are great readers. We're not always right, or the right fit. Learn to interpret and blance the feedback and direction you receive, but always listen. If someone sees something different, or misses something you consider important, ask yourself why. Ask yourself what you have failed to translate onto the page. Don't immediately dismiss it. Don't see it as a threat or as someone taking away what's yours.

Especially for new writers, few things dismay me as much as the anonymous message board/blog chorus that reinforces the idea that there's some singular, holy ownership of a story -- an absolute, correct Mine. Just as a critique gorup that does nothing but pile on praise might feel great for five minutes but do nothing to advance your work or your career, shutting out criticism and shutting down new ideas never helped anyone to grow.

Embrace the possibility of change and find your own solutions -- solutions true to your voice and your talent -- when people challenge you to take your work to the next level. It's the difference between published and not published, between one sale and a career.