Posts Tagged ‘Bryan Collier’

Feb

14

2017

NY 2017 SCBWI Conference Part 1

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Conferences, Fun and Games, Kim Sabatini, Kimberly Sabatini, Middle Grade, Pondering, Publishing, Reading, SCBWI, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing for Children

It’s time for the NY 2017 SCBWI Conference!!!!

I just got back and of course I wanted to share the awesomeness with you.

Just so you know, it wasn’t exactly easy to get there this year…

On Thursday we got hit with a winter storm. My house got just over 10 inches of snow–resulting in a very happy puppy.

With a day off of school, I was kind of lucky because I got some extra sleep and had plenty of time to pack for the next day.

But not everyone was so lucky. I know of several people who couldn’t get their flights sorted out and missed the conference all together. That was a huge disappointment.

I knew I was going to be running a little late for Friday’s Intensive, but my train schedule got pushed back even more due to the boys having 2hr delays. I decided not to stress and go with the flow.

Chilling out and day dreaming while looking out the train widow really paid off. I got to see 4 adult and 4 juvenile American Eagles! And I even captured one on my camera and that made me extra happy.

While I missed most of the morning portion of my Friday Intensive–WRITING THE VERSE NOVEL–but made it for the first half of the round table sessions. Despite being late, I still had an amazing experience and learned a ton. I’ve never attempted a novel in verse before, but I’m intrigued, I enjoy reading them and I always feel that learning new things brings depth and color to anything I’m working on. So it was a great opportunity. And the good news was that I was able to get the handouts and I have access to the notes.

The lovely Bonnie Bader facilitated the Intensive.

Listening to Sonya SonesThe Nuts and Bolts and Safety Pins of Writing the Novel in Verse

*Don’t write a poem that makes a teenager feel stupid. It must be accessible.

*Our goal is to move people with our words–create an emotional response.

*Teens are present tense human beings.

*Read your work out loud with ear plugs. It allows you to hear your own voice.

We also did some fun exercises with Ellen Hopkins‘ session Balancing Verse with Story

Do you want to get your creative descriptions flowing? Try asking yourself some interesting questions like…

What does anger smell like?

What does happiness taste like?

What does sorrow sound like?

What does boredom feel like?

What does love look like?

You should have heard all the interesting and varying responses in the room.

And after another session of round tables, there was even time for a Q & A session with the intensive faculty.

(Sonya Sones, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Ellen Hopkins and Emma Dryden)

Done for the day, it was time to meet up with my friends (old and new) and fellow Lobby Rats for a yummy Italian dinner and lots of catching up in the–you guessed it–lobby!

Then on Saturday morning–despite how comfortable my roomie and best bud, Jodi Moore and I were in our cozy beds at the Hyatt Grand–we rolled on downstairs for coffee, bagels and the kick-off of the conference.

Starting off the day was some birthday singing for the one and only Jane Yolen!

This was followed by Lin Oliver‘s famous SCBWI State of the Conference Address.

Here’s how it all went down…

*1,121 Attendees

*40% Published and 60% Pre-Published

*States not representing? North Dakota and Wyoming ūüôĀ

*Attendees came from 61 different countries to include Hong Kong, Australia, Spain and Egypt.

*Some of this year’s interesting Professions/Day Jobs were…

     -Costume Shop Supervisor

     -Attorney/Voice Over Actor

     -Chairman of the Book Selection Committee (everyone was looking for this person LOL!)

     -Crime Scene Detective

     -Dog Groomer

     -Podiatrist

The first Keynote of the day was the always moving and inspiring Bryan Collier

Here are some of the things you should know…

*When he was 4yo–he saw HIMSELF in the picture book Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. He became obsessed with art and headed to NY–there was no plan B

*Be careful who you share your dreams with, even the people who love you will tell you to get a job.

*Your dreams should be so outrageous they scare you.

*Everything your awkward about is the very thing that makes you special. <3

*Creativity is not just a pond–it’s a river. We are moving!

*The world is waiting for you to dream.

*Sometimes our readers aren’t standing in the doorway. They are in a ditch–behind bars. And they are waiting for you.

Want to check out some of Bryan’s amazing work? Look for his illustrations in KNOCK KNOCK.

Next up was a Panel Discussion–Four Types of Picture Books: A Closer Look

Moderator LL-Laurent Linn

DS–Daniel Salmieri (Illustrator)

GP–Greg Pizzoli (Author/ Illustrator)

ADP–Andrea Davis Pinkney (Author/Editor)

AB–Andrea Beaty (Author)

There was so much great information offered by this panel, so I’ve picked my favorite pieces of advice and inspiration to share with you…

ADP–Bringing non-fiction to readers is like spinach. You have to keep serving it up until they get a taste for it.

ADP–I’m under the belief that if something excites you–it can excite the child.

DS–Don’t be afraid to draw ANYTHING–you’re in a constant state of getting better.

GP–Picture book advice 1. a picture book can be anything 2. it should be direct 3. keep it short.

LL–Ballet look so easy. Effortless. But those ballerina’s have bloody stumps for feet. Rhyme has to look equally effortless.

Next up was my first Break Out Session–World Building with Arianne Lewin

This was a fabulous workshop and very relevant to what I’m working on in my WIP. Here’s what you need to know…

*Creating a world that’s immersive will keep the reader reading.

*The world should unfold organically.

*World building applies to ALL books–it’s the anchor for your story.

*The world has to be believable and manageable.

*1st build atmosphere–it make the reader feel comfortable slipping in.

*If the character believes it–the reader will believe it. It’s in the details.

*Great examples of world building–The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Golden Compass.

*The world is revealed by what your character does–show it!

The Lobby Rats taking a lunch break

One for me and one for my roomie <3

Then it’s back to work…

After lunch it was back to another breakout session.

This one was Writing Middle Grade Fiction with Andrew Harwell, Senior Editor at Harper Collins

*MG readers ages 8-12 (grades 2-6)

*This means that the middle grade section in bookstores houses a WIDE variety of books in one area–Captain Underpants to The Golden Compass.

*MG readers are extremely sophisticated–but keep your eye on the main character–that is the story anchor.

*Never talk down to your readers.

*There is no one, right gold standard voice or style in MG. Do what works for you and your character.

*Plant seeds –details in the earlier part of your book that you can catch again at the end.

*If you have the details clear in YOUR head, you don’t have to over explain anything to the reader. It will make sense. Make your plotting masterfully done.

*Make sure you give your characters a breathing moment–hit different emotional registers.

*The specific details are anchored in the universal themes.

*Be prepared to use sensitivity readers.

The afternoon keynote by Tahereh Mafi is STILL giving me goose bumps.

Everything about this keynote was incredible. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t capture it all. It was her words, which flowed non-stop. It was her elegant demeanor. It was her power and resilience. It was her history and her goals for the future. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak–know you are in for an altering experience.

This is what I was able to capture…

*A thick skin will only insulate you from pain, and act good is a writer who doesn’t feel anything?

*Speaking of her mom, who had her skull fractured on the streets of Iran: grief was a luxury she was never able to afford.

*My thin skin helps me to exhale emotions onto the page.

*Those rejections keep you hungry.

*Not everyone will know our stories and back stories–our inspirations and aspirations–but SOMEONE will find it.

*Lean into your pain and let it shape you.

*If you don’t give up, you can’t fail.

*She wrote and queried FIVE novels before the one that sold.

This year, the walls between the ballroom and the bookstore were opened. I loved it! This is everyone rushing to get Tahereh’s book after her moving keynote.

Next up was the afternoon panel–Children’s Books and the Social Media World: A Panel of Influencers

Moderator by Martha Brockenbrough MB

TJ–Travis Jonker (blogger) @100scopenotes and @TheYarnPodcast

CLS–Cynthia Leitich Smith (author/blogger) @CynLeitichSmith and ¬†www.cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com

MW–Mathew Winner (librarian/podcast host/blogger) @MatthewWinner and @AlltheWonders

Here’s a sample of what we got to hear…

TJ–I love when a voice we love in a book carries over into the authors social media.

CLS–Calls out Debbie Ohi as someone who is doing it RIGHT! She has take aways for her audience, snippets of her art, a positive and friendly attitude.

CLS–Write your mission statement as an author.

CLS–Know when to step away from social media and write your book.

CLS–Author profiles with animals–especially quirky animals get more love.

Worth a try, right?

MW–I never set out to have an audience. I set out to share what I love.

MW–Being nice makes you cool!

Usually book signings are on Sunday, but every once in awhile we have a couple people who need to sign on Saturday.

My roomie, Jodi Moore talking to Andrea Davis Pinkney!!!! She was the sweetest to cast with and I’m constantly blown away by what an intelligent woman Andrea is. You must read her work–it’s incredible. I fell in love with this picture book and got a signed copy for my school library…

A Poem For Peter

And I also got to speak with Tahereh Mafi and tell her what an impact her keynote had on me. <3

And then it was time for the Gala with it’s the SCBWI MASHED POTATO BAR!!!

As if it was meant to be–I walked by and they opened this particular Mashed Potato Bar and I was the first one to use it ROTFL!


Cheers!

Hope you enjoyed my NY 2017 SCBWI Part 1 Recap. I’ll be sure to get you Part 2 as soon as I can.

Any questions about the conference? I’ll do what I can to answer them. Planning on going to the LA conference in July and want to be in the Lobby Rat know? Let me know and I’ll add you to the FB group. Or if you’re planning to attend a different SCBWI conference and would like to make sure the Lobby Rats are represented–let me know. We can arrange that <3

And if you want to play along in the comments and give Ellen Hopkins’ exercise a try, here’s your question…

What color was the NY conference and why?

You can answer this as an attendee or as an arm chair conference follower.

My conference was green like a leafy vine, because many of the ideas that were floating around in my head, were finally able to be connected because of what I learned and the people who were inspired me.

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Aug

12

2012

The 41st Annual SCBWI Conference–Part 3–Sunday

Filed under: Class of 2k12, Conferences, SCBWI, The Class of 2k12

I think I mentioned earlier that this conference had some of the best panel discussions that I’ve been to at a SCBWI event. Up first on Sunday morning was the AGENTS PANEL–REALIZING YOUR CREATIVE DREAMS:WHAT THE PUBLISHING WORLD CAN OFFER YOU. (LO) Lin Oliver (Moderator)

(JC) Jill Corcoran

(DW) Deborah Warner (Filling in for Rubin Pfeffer)

(LP) Linda Pratt

(JA) Josh Adams

Here are their best pieces of advice…

What are you looking for?

JA-We don’t look for perfection, we look for potential that needs to be highly polished.

JC-Do your research. Pick 5 ideas you love , then pick the one that seems the most exciting. Be sure to research comp books. You can change the setting to make an idea you love more unique.

JA-We are looking for something that is truly unique. If we love something, we will find a home for it. What is expected of an author besides writing?

JA-Social media, tours, school visits, marketing. First books allow you take lots of time but after that, you’re expected to produce.

LP-Second books can’t be obscure and quirky. Your sales are being tracked (Book Scan) and you have to be pragmatic about what you pick in the beginning of your career.

JA-There is less time today to build a career.

Advice?

DW-Placing your second book is just as important as placing your first.

JA-Do your homework first. LP-Make decisions that progress your work, not just add another book. Selectivity. And be professional!

JC-About social media: Why do we all have to say EVERYTHING we feel. Have a filter. Be cautious and professional.

LO-Ask…Is this the highest and best use of your time.

Money?

JA-Children’s and YA have historically done thing differently than adult publishing and that is why we’re doing well.

 

Now on to the picture book panel. I’ve dabbled with picture books but don’t consider myself a picture book writer at this point in my career, but I am so glad that I stayed for this session. The wonderful insight and messages transcended the world of picture books and I walked away with a large amount of wisdom and inspiration–plus a whole bunch of laughs.

(JK) Jon Klassen

(AP) Antoinette Portis

(DY) Dan Yaccarino (Moderator)

(EY) Eugene Yelchin

(LW) Lee Wardlow

Trends?

EY-Trends? I don’t know what that means–we are in a very specific cultural moment. We must consciously be aware of being in THAT moment. We are helping to create the culture

JK-Trends apply more to novels because PB’s don’t have as much trouble explaining themselves. Don’t need comps the same way.

DY-We never get tired of hearing the same stories–we just want to have a unique delivery.

EY-You do your research, but it still has to filter through you.

JK-What makes a classic? It has something unreachable about it that makes you want to keep returning to it to try to figure it out. (GOODNIGHT MOON; GO, DOG, GO!)

 

The first breakout session of the day was one that is close to my heart. The Class of 2k7 (The founding class of 2k’s) is celebrating it’s 5th anniversary and of course that makes me a member of the 5th class to come through. Of course I had to attend this session by Greg Fishbone, Jay Asher and Greg Neri called CLASS OF 2K7: SOCIAL NETWORKING YOUR WAY TO THE VIRTUAL TOP.

Here are some of the stats on the Class of 2k7…

39 Members (13 Middle Grade and 26 Young Adult)

Releases: 17 Spring, 12 Summer and 10 Fall

When they started…

*They may have started as a group of balding male writers. LOL!

*Online marketing was very new and not the primary focus.

*MySpace was the big thing LOL! But it shows that social media is a moving target and you can put a lot of effort into something that just goes away.

Why group branding?

*Lends credibility to the authors–looks professional. There are groups beyond the Class of 2k series that do this also–like the Apocalypsies and the Lucky 13s.

*Joint presentations/signings make something an event.

*You better control your own spin.

 

Class of 2k’s Websites:

*Class of 2k7

*Class of 2k8

*Class of 2k9

*Class of 2k10

*Class of 2k11

*Class of 2k12

*Class of 2k13 They are just getting started!

Up next was the SCBWI Golden Kite Luncheon. If you’re not familiar with the SCBWI Golden Kite award, you can find out more about it HERE. The awards given out at this luncheon also include the illustrator awards, the humorous Sid Fleishman Award¬†and the SCBWI Member of the Year Award, which was deservedly won by Suzanne Morgan Williams.

 And this year was also very special for me because Kate Messner won the Golden Kite Picture Book Award. Kate is a member of my SCBWI Eastern Upstate New York and one of the authors I used as a role model when I first started this journey. Congratulations Kate!!!!

And here are the other amazing winners…

So proud to see what the SCBWI is producing. Each book is a stone in a path that we are all creating together. I’m so amazingly proud to be a part of this tribe. After the luncheon I got to go to another breakout session with Ruta Sepetys!!! This allowed me to get an up close look at a Golden Kite award…too stinkin’ amazing!

Who needs an Oscar when you can have one of these? And of course, Ruta sent out a message of thanks to all of Verla Kay’s Blue Boarders when she saw Verla in her session too.

 

Okay, back to topic–which is–SELLING, PROMOTING & TOURING IN FOREIGN MARKETS. I wasn’t sure how much I’d get out of this session because I have 3 young kids and hopping on a plane and touring overseas isn’t going to be the easiest thing for me to do, but I’d learned so many fabulous things in my other sessions with Ruta that I couldn’t pass it up. I wasn’t disappointed. I learned a ton of information that will give me lots of advantages to dealing with foreign markets even if I’m staying right at home.

Here are some general tips that everyone will find useful…

*If you send video content–attach a script for easy translation.

*Have a selection of author photos because tastes vary widely.

*Create your own Q & A.

*Send thank you notes.

*sob* The last Keynote speaker of the conference. I hate saying goodbye to this kind of inspiration. ¬†Gary Schmidt–THAT KID IN THE BACK ROW, THE ONE WITH THE RED SHIRT ON. Gary is the author of one of my favorite books–THE WEDNESDAY WARS.

*We are at our best with good and healthy routines. We need to pay attention to our surprises.

*I was put into Track 3 in first grade–I didn’t learn to read for a very long time.

*Never doubt your stories will effect kids.

*You write the stories that give your readers more to be a human being with.

*You will never learn to love art well until you learn to love what it mirrors better…the world.

-Love the world

-Love the stuff of your craft–words.

-Give your readers the deepest questions not easy answers.

-Pay attention

*Does the writing serve? We do not want to be hacks who simply seek fame and fortune. We are in a culture where we cease to cherish our children. We are called to cherish our readers.

The child deserves…

How do we get started?

Look.

 

Yes, it’s a miracle that I’m still alive today because by all rights, after that speech and all the others I heard at the conference, no one would have blamed me if my heart had burst. But that is how you should leave a conference so full of inspiration, hope and motivation that the touch of a feather would cause it to leak out of you. Now it’s time for the autograph party or as I like to call it…Kim gets to hug her heroes.

Of course, everyone feels the same way I do, so the line is outrageous LOL! But it goes rather quickly and it’s so worth it.

After hearing Eugene Yelchin in the Picture Book Panel I had to have this book, BREAKING STALIN’S NOSE. Can’t wait to read it with the boys!

 The second page of KINDRED SOULS by Patricia MacLachlan has a Red Tailed Hawk on it. Perfect.

Awww Bryan Collier blew me away with his keynote. From that moment on I became a life long fan. The SCBWI doesn’t get better than this.You must read DAVE THE POTTER!

I love Clare Vanderpool and can’t wait to read MOON OVER MANIFEST!

It’s Karen Cushman!!! Karen has published seven books since she started writing at age 50, including Newbery award winner THE MIDWIFE’S APPRENTICE.

OMG!!! My kids are going to be soooo jealous. They LOVED reading Gary Schmidt‘s ¬†THE WEDNESDAY WARS together. It was such a wonderful experience to share my children’s enthusiasm for his writing with him. We can’t wait to read his next book, OKAY FOR NOW together.

Pictures are worth a 1,000 words and sometimes us writers CAN just leave it at that–or maybe I’ll have just a little bit more to say about Ruta on Wednesday LOL!

And then it’s over…waving goodbye to LAX.

This is still the only view I’ve ever had of the Pacific LOL!

Turning back around over the ocean and doing an LA fly by on my way home.

 

Can you spot the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza? ¬†It’s the low building with a curved shape next to the white tower.

On Monday there was also a wonderful day of Intensives but I didn’t attend, I was ready to head home and see my family. On my way out, I did see this little cloud and I can only imagine that some day it will show up in one of my stories LOL!

Don’t forget that you still have a chance to win a Pre-order of TOUCHING THE SURFACE right HERE!

Now that you’ve had a virtual SCBWI Conference, what do you think? Interested in joining the tribe? Already a proud member? Find any authors that you would love to hear? Make sure you request them with your SCBWI RA for your local conferences. Or just check out their amazing books and if you do love them, be sure to take the time to write a review for Amazon, B&N and Goodreads. Your positive support means the world to all authors and illustrators. It will never go unappreciated.

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Aug

10

2012

THe 41st Annual SCBWI Summer Conference in LA–Part 2–Saturday

Filed under: Conferences, Contests, SCBWI, Touching the Surface

It’s Saturday. The alarm seems to go off earlier and by alarm I mean my roommate poking me with her finger. The Starbucks line seems longer and the excitement seems bigger. Maybe it’s the caffeine or maybe it’s because SCBWI Conferences are freaking awesome. Realistically–it could be both.

Starting off the morning with Karen Cushman and COURTING SURPRISE. She was fabulous so I must share some of my favorite bits of advice and wisdom…

*The function of freedom is to free someone else.

*Rules: Make your own rules, or better yet, don’t follow any.

*We find the unconscious gifts we give ourselves.

*There is a difference between and editor and a critic.

*Tell the truth–there are things we are morally certain of and that the kind of truth I’m talking about.

*Write with passion and heart.

*Lighthouses don’t run around looking for boats to save–they just stand there and shine. (My favorite)

I’m going to be honest–this year was the year of the Panels. The Editor, Picture Book and Agent Panels were among the best I’ve ever seen this time. I was truly impressed. This was the Editor Panel: HOW TO SUCCEED IN PUBLISHING–FINDING YOUR VOICE.

From left to right with some of their best tips…

(JB) Jordan Brown

(EH) Elise Howard

(NP) Neal Porter

(LO) Lin Oliver–Moderator

(FJ) Farrin Jacobs

(TB) Tamar Brazis

(LG) Laura Goodwin

How do you define voice?

LG–It’s what makes an author unique. Equated with style, not to be confused with being stylish. The more you know who you are the clearer your voice is.

EH–Read Dan Gutman’s faculty bio from the conference and 1,200 people knew who she was talking about. That’s voice.

FJ–Things can be “too voicey” and feel unnatural.

JB–Bad voice is when you are picturing an author in their house trying to write a scene instead of being swept into a scene.

What are the attributes of successful authors/illustrators?

LG–Flexibility

EH–They are a contradiction. When you send an editorial letter, they do what you’ve asked but they likely do it in their own unique way, bringing something new and unexpected to the table.

TB–The ability to revise–separate your ego from the project to make the work the best it can be.

FJ–They keep their “stuff” to themselves.

NP–Expensive presents. Ha!

JB–The knowledge that the editor and the author know that they are working together towards the same goal.

There is something special about Bryan Collier. Something very special. Once again he was one of those speakers who I listened to and wondered how my life could have been complete without knowing that he was in it. He blew me away when he talked about FROM A SEED TP A TREE. I’ll share some of him most moving bits, but know that it can’t possibly do him justice–he wears his heart on his sleeve. ¬†Every emotion he has is illustrated clearly on his face and he is a charming, funny, intelligent, beautiful soul. If you ever get a chance to meet him…you will come back here and tell me that I was right.

*What I do with my work–I’m chasing HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON every time. *heart squish*

*On Ezra Jack Keats–I never met him and he never met me, but when he wrote the SNOWY DAY, he spoke to me directly.

*In high school–I loved sports, but nothing touched me deeper than making art.

*You have to protect and nurture this artistic seed inside of you, but you still have to eat. Give up the romantic notions and do what you have to do.

*On visiting the lobbies of publishing houses every week for seven years, in order to try to sell a book–The publishing houses didn’t know what they did to me when they let me sit in their lobbies. It was magical, incredible. Julie Andrews walked by one day. I just wanted to get there.

*Everybody’s afraid of your dream–nobody knows what is going on inside of you.

Of course I floated down to my first break-out session of the day…

Lots of fun and great information from Jay Asher–NO BOOKMARKS ALLOWED: HOW TO INJECT SUSPENSE INTO YOUR NOVEL

Jay used one of the greatest suspense stories of all time to teach us what we needed to know…

There’s a Monster at the End of This Book! LOL!

So what do we need to keep the bookmark from slipping between the pages?

*Anticipation

*You have to have one character the reader cares about.

*A satisfying ending is unpredictable, but you believe it had to happen just that way.

*Inject suspense

*Use chapter endings to your advantage.

*Suspense killers: bad dialogue, unnecessary description, forced motivation, vague action.

After a yummy break for lunch. (Frozen yogurt with M&M’s and chocolate sprinkles may have been involved.) We returned for another bang up keynote by Clare Vanderpool, author of MOON OVER MANIFEST. Clare was hysterical and moving when she talked about WRITING IN THE CROSSROADS: WHERE CRAFT AND CREATIVITY MEET.

Loved it when she talked about a little neighborhood boy who booked her to come into his classroom and talk. (too stinkin’ cute) He also asked her to sign his book–unfortunately for Clare it was the 4th Lemony Snicket book. ROTFL!!! Of course she did it. <3

*There is no “What to expect when your win the Newbery.” (Clare won as a debut author)

*Knowledge of craft can form the foundation to create.

*If we think we’re going to get our hands slapped every time we write a sentence, than it’s almost impossible to create.

*You really do have to put in the miles–just like running.

*It’s about writing, writing and more writing–you can’t learn to ride a bike without actually riding the bike.

*Sometimes we think something is wonderful and it’s not, but sometimes we think something is horrible and it is not.

* My theory is that the universe is made up of story.

Next up was Deborah Underwood and THE POWER OF QUIET.

Shhhh…

*It might look like I’m doing nothing, but at the cellular level I’m very busy.
*Quiet is not validated in our society at all.
*There are built in pauses in our life.
*We owe it to the kids who read our books to make time for quiet–great things come from those pauses.

Back to the last break-out session of the day.

Jordan Brown–WRITING FOR BOYS

False perception: Writing for boys=Writing for people who don’t like to read. It has less to do with the ability to read and more to do with how to pitch to boys.

*Boys won’t like reading if they don’t like what they’re reading.

*Boys live in a multimedia world.

*Rise of the “Do it Yourself Aesthetic.”

*Developing connections with authors and readers

Kinds of things that have boy appeal.

*Boys don’t like to be talked down to.

*Boys do like gross-out humor but they know when it’s just thrown in randomly.

*Don’t assume that the things they like in life (sports etc…) are the only connections they will make to reading.

*Tether your fiction to the truth.

*It doesn’t have to be a boy character, but it helps.

*Guys just want to be yelled at less. Avoidance. They aren’t all about the personal development like girls.

*High concept doesn’t mean low quality.

*Don’t be afraid of illustrations or technology.

Okay–I’m read to start to gush again. It’s time for more Ruta Sepetys, SCBWI success story and author of BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY.

 


Ruta talked about YOU CAN’T BREAK THE BROKEN: WRITING EMOTIONAL TRUTH

Ruta started to write because someone asked her what her story was and she dared to dig deep. She repeats often that history holds secrets, but it’s not just a political history that does this–it’s our own.

*How much of your emotional stuff are you willing to give?

*What is the novel only you can write?

*What scares you?

*What causes you pain?

*What do you wish would just go away?

*Expose your emotional truth, putting it behind your fiction–that is timeless.

*The things you are feeling–there is a reader out there who experiences the same thing.

*I met my savage self when I undertook this writing.

*You can’t break the broken–but you can glue yourself back together.

*Reveal yourself–you have a safety net–the SCBWI

By the time Ruta asked us “What is your story?” I was in tears and profoundly moved. Just like Bryan Collier, I can’t begin to translate the power of this keynote on to the page but I can tell you that I walked away feeling as if I give anything less than this to my writing than I’ve sold myself short.

Deborah Halverson did an amazing job with AN UP TO THE MINUTE SURVEY OF MARKET NEEDS AND TRENDS.

Just the broad strokes…

*Picture books–improved market, but still fragile.

*Chapter books–room for growth.

*MG–best spot for acquisition.

*YA–More successful that ever, but very dependent on the big list authors while the mid list authors are still struggling.

General Submissions:

*High use of agents (conference appearances and referrals)

*What’s in the slush pile is sent prematurely–not usually a thought out fit.

*It’s hard to find self-published authors who can turn into successful acquisitions.

Internal Mood:

*Cautiously optimistic

*Tastes of editors doesn’t change because of the market.

*Creativity is at the heart of what we do.

TIME FOR THE HIPPIE HOP!!!!!

Jodi Moore and Mike Jung

Amy Nichols and Me!!! (We’re blurry because we hippy hopping LOL!)

Me, Stephanie Ruble and Jodi Moore

Gretchen McNeil and Me!!!! Love her. <3

Debra Driza and Me…who knew she was so tall???

RA of Eastern Upstate New York…Nancy Castaldo in a fabulous jump suit!

Yes, we LOVE Lin Oliver!!!!

Leeza Hernandez had my favorite costume of the night!

Can you guess who this is? I’ll give you a hint from above…he loves Grover.

And don’t forget you can still win a Pre-order of TOUCHING THE SURFACE…HERE.¬†

PS. It’s now 2am and I don’t have the braincells to read this over. I’m too tired to ask a creative conversational question so pop in if you’ve got something to say and if it’s got typos or formatting bloopers…I’ll fix it later *yawn* Night…

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