Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I <3 SCBWI (or Am I the only one who doesn't pronounce it "skwee-bee"?)

Tip of the Day: If you fall off the JanNo wagon, don't give up! You're free to change your goal to something you can attain! It's all about getting further than you would have on your project than if you hadn't pushed yourself however much for a month. Current word count: 16,697

The wonderful Amy Emm put together another fantastic SCBWI Central/Western NY conference this past Saturday. I must take the time to highlight certain aspects.

1) Bowen Press editor Molly O'Neil talked about craft and specifically setting, which tied in perfectly to our How I Write series from last week so I was very into it. She had us do an exercise that reminded me of the board game Taboo: we were to write a scene of two friends traveling in the summer in Paris, but couldn't use certain words like cities in France, French terms, "cafe", "baguette", or some other "obvious" terms. We were forced to think out of the box for descriptions of the setting. I loved this exercise and might make myself use it for my future projects. ***Setting used in a first page can establish a character and place for a whole novel. ***Setting can rub against or compliment an MC to show their emotions/personality.

She also said of her imprint that they are still discovering themselves so Bowen Press is open to a wide range of projects. Molly herself is not that into sports stories.

2) London Ladd is a Syracuse illustrator who had an inspiring story. It took him 15 years to get his Bachelor's degree in illustration, and once he did he went back to SU to take a children's PB class which he didn't know anything about -- and then just happened to at that time get an offer to illustrate a PB about Martin Luther King, Jr. He was talented, humble, funny, and a great artist and persenter. ***Don't give up! Take all opportunities that arise!

3) Eileen M. Crane is a Blueboarder and the author of the YA SKIN DEEP. She was warm and friendly and we chatted. I love having the BB connection with authors! She told us about her writing process and about how she won the Delacorte Contest. Some thoughts she shared that stuck with me: ***She writes "unpublishable poetry" to get into the emotions of her characters. ***She equates the elements of fiction with the questions that a reporter has to ask: Who/Character, What/Plot, When/Time Period, Where/Setting, Why/Why Am I Writing This [and I inserted my own thought about Why: Character Motivations], and How/Specific detals that move the plot forward. She said if you don't have a strong WHY [why are you writing this?], it will show in your writing.

4) The First Pages session with Molly was informative. She was blunt but not harsh and she said she'd read on from my first page. Woo hoo! :) A repetitive comment she made for the PBs was that they needed to fill 32 pages, and needed to have enough illustration possibilities to warrant PB status. A repetitive comment she had for the novels was that they needed to start with less description and more action.

As usual, a great conference where I got to chat with a number of people from the Novel Revision Retreat I went to this past fall. So cool to catch up with them and see how their novels are coming along!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Kate Fall said...

I'm sorry I couldn't be there. I hope they do something in the spring, too, like last year.

Emily Marshall said...

Sounds like so much fun Deena. And I love the insights you learned from it. Thanks for sharing.

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

I call it "squee-bee" too! And it sounds like a great conference. Molly will be at the Pocono Retreat, too. Can't wait! (so bummed it's during the teen lit shindig at your place, though)

Lisa Schroeder said...

I just always say the letters - S-C-B-W-I. :)

Thanks for sharing your take-aways. Very helpful!