I always like to start of the recap with some of Lin Oliver‘s Conference stats. I’ll be honest, it’s soooo much funnier when she lays them out, but I do still think they are interesting even when she’s not delivering.
The 41st Annual SCBWI Summer Conference had…
46 States (Yes, the Dakotas and a few more were missing again!)
411 Published and the remainder Pre-published
171 Males (Yes–we stole their bathroom again.)
122 Undeclared (They had more bathroom options than anyone LOL!)
This year’s opening ceremonies included an Olympic theme and we even had a
torch match to help kick things off. And kicking things off meant we got to hear about TIMELESS books from the great Arthur Levine.
The question was asked…Should we look at a book with timelessness in mind? Do you have an answer? Opinion?
For this Keynote, we looked at the books that spanned Arthur’s career–the ones he felt were timeless.
Throughout the whole conference, this theme was revisited in many other keynotes and sessions, all with differing opinions on what makes something timeless, but almost everyone seemed to agree that it couldn’t and shouldn’t be predicted.
*PREPARE FOR SHAMELESS PLUG*
On that note, I will not be so bold as to say that my friend Mike Jung‘s up and coming Arthur Levine book will be timeless–but I’m pretty sure that GEEKS, GIRLS AND SECRET IDENTITIES is going to be made of awesome!!!!!
*BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING*
The second keynote of the morning was NEVER ABANDON IMAGINATION by the very funny Tony Diterlizzi.
Tony started out with an amazing quote…
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
― Albert Einstein
Ummm how did I live my life not knowing that one?
But here are some of Tony’s best lines too…
*Imagination has to be instilled at a very young age. In my opinion–when they pop out!
*Each year, as I get better at my craft, I’m another year further away from the kid in me.
*All that Dorothy, Wendy and Alice ever wanted was to go home. There is a longing to be in a place that makes us feel safe and loved.
*I’m a Jedi. (On Star Wars love…all the best ones are *wink*)
It’s Apocalypsie Time!!!!!
One of my buds from the debut group of authors called the APOCALYPSIES is the lovely Lissa Price, author of STARTERS. And she had a wonderful breakout session called HOW TO APPLY SCREENWRITING TECHNIQUES TO MAKE ANY BOOK BETTER.
Lissa helped explain high concept movies and books.
*High concept is to be thought of as an internal phrase, not something we should be using in queries or throwing around with editors. It’s how we need to visualize our own work to make it very competitive.
*High concept creates an “ah-ha” moment in one or two sentences–often with a touch of emotion and/or irony.
Lissa then became hands on with the crowd, helping them to tweak pitches and first lines to their best advantage. She was also very clear that not all books are high concept and literary works can be equally as successful, but how they capture the attention of agents, editors and readers is very different.
And there may have been some Apocalypsie goofing around that Lissa had to deal with also LOL!
Next up was Sara Shepard talking about SCANDALS, LIES AND MURDERS: HOW TO MAINTAIN MOMENTUM IN A SERIES.
Sara is the author of the PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and LYING GAMES series. Here are some of her best bits…
*Know who your murder is before you set out.
*Always incorporate a red herring into the series.
*Leave a bit to chance. The narrator has to be a little bit unreliable, especially is suspicion is cast upon them.
*You have to be willing to change.
The next Keynote of the day was Patricia MacLachlan–REVISING MY LIFE.
I really didn’t take many notes, I sort of just soaked her up and enjoyed every minute of her speech. Aside from writing HILARIOUS!!!!! and putting hearts all over the page, I captured this one to keep…
Childhood is powerful–children experience life along side us. We are all children. The child knows all…
My next break out session was with Ruta Sepetys. I’m going to warn you. You are going to be hearing a lot about Ruta from me. I am going to refrain from gushing like a fool right off the bat, but consider yourself warned. You may want to come to the blog prepared for full-on-hero worship because it is inevitable.
Ruta–don’t hate me. I have many flattering pics of you and I fully plan to use them, but this one just captured how funny and accessible you were and it made me smile. This breakout session, MEDIA PREP: AUTHOR TIPS FOR RADIO, TV AND PRINT COVERAGE was part of the PRO Track–classes designed for the student who has different needs now that they are published.
I now have an endless amount of information to contemplate. Here are some of the broad strokes…
*Develop message points
*Distill them down to sound bytes
*Bridges allow you to communicate your message with a less than perfect question
*Pivots allow you to take something negative and turn it positive
*Never wing it…EVER!
The last Keynote of the day was HOW A DUMBASS LIKE ME GOT 100 BOOKS PUBLISHED by Dan Gutman. As you might imagine, this speech was funny, irreverent and very smart. Dan started off by giving us a list of advice starting with…
#13 Ignore all advice
#12 Join SCBWI (which negates number 13)
#11 Be persistent
#10 Try everything
#9 Don’t get stuck in a rut
#8 Become famous (like Madonna and then you can write anything and someone will print it LOL!)
#7 Find something really popular and then write something better
#6 Never write on an empty stomach (use paper)
#5 Break the rules
#4 Promote the hell out of yourself
#3 Take the Bull by the horns
#2 Use your strengths
#1 There is NO SECRET…when you do what you love, you love what you do.
Time for the Pizza Party and Book Sale honoring SCBWI Published Attendees. *yum and squee* Next year I’ll have pizza AND a book!!!!
I didn’t list the event times like I sometimes do, but in case you’re wondering…Jodi and I, registration and the Starbucks line were in full swing by 7:30 am and the Book Sale finished at 7:30pm. Somewhere after that hunted down dinner before I stayed up too late talking. For clarity, there was a quick break for lunch and I got to share a meal with my lovely RA for SCBWI Eastern Upstate New York–Nancy Castaldo. (Fun pics coming in future installments LOL!)
Don’t forget that I have an on going contest to win a pre-order of TOUCHING THE SURFACE right HERE! The contest will be open the whole time I’m recapping the conference. Stop over to win!!!
Are you tired yet? Any presenters that I’ve convinced you that you must see? Oh, my friend, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Be back on Friday with more.