Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Authors, In-person

Tip of the Day: if you want to feel revived and refreshed about writing, try going to a conference.

This past week, I was at a conference for my library job. The bonus perk was that many authors I admire were also speaking at the conference, including Tamora Pierce, Judy Schachner, Cynthia Lord, Pete Hautman, John Green, Hank Green, and Maureen Johnson. I blogged a little about the conference on my personal blog here, but I wanted to share some of my favorite words of wisdom from the speakers.

  • “If you need to send a message call Western union, [don’t write a book].” Tamora Pierce
  • When Tamora Pierce was asked at what stage during the writing process she thinks about the theme of her novel, her response was: “when I’m preparing for speeches.”
  • “Be persistent,” Judy Schachner, picture book author. “Or what I like to call: keep ramming head into brick wall.” Her response when asked about the publication process of books.
  • As I mentioned on my other blog, Cynthia Lord’s advice on writing and publishing: 1.) don’t let your inner-editor into the first draft of a novel and 2.) don’t give up on your publication journey.
  • Pete Hautman said most of his book ideas result when he realizes how two unconnected ideas he has on characters and/or larger issues fit together as one book.
  • John Green spoke at length on the importance of using technology to reach your readers in new ways, such as his online Nerdfighter community and Brotherhood 2.0 blogs. He also stated that teens today want to feel connected to the author at all times.
  • Hank Green added that one of his favorite things about their online community is that teens feel they can make a difference. “If you tell them they can change the world, they believe it and then they will do something about it.”
  • Maureen Johnson said when asked why she likes to write for teens that it’s because teens are a lot more open at that age and you can be more creative in books.

There was tons more, but those were my favorite comments. There’s nothing like hearing an author speak in person that can both get you excited about writing and also feeling inferior, since all of them are incredibly smart and dedicated to the craft of writing and to their readers. But it was an amazing time, and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to hear some of them speak.

--Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent


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

These are fabulous jewels, Em! I am totally with Tamora Pierce on the theme issue. And I love the Green Brothers' site.

As for persistence, let's say I'm banging my bloody head against the wall, but I'm starting to see daylight...or is that stars?

Emily Marshall said...

Thanks GG. And I'm seeing stars myself these days as well, but I really hope daylight is coming.

Kate Fall said...

I love Tamora Pierce, isn't she funny? And I love Judy Schachner's books. There's a woman unafraid to make up words!

I think the message I need to hear is "don't let your internal editor near your first draft." It sums up the discouragement I've been feeling with my writing this winter. But I am having fun with it again, thanks to the encouragement of my writer friends! (And probably from working out my issues on this blog.)

DeenaML said...

Tamora is a RIOT! I'm so glad you got to go to a conference that was so filled with great authors!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Great jewels! And what a line-up. So glad you got to go!

I would love to see Hank and John. Did they like present together?

Emily Marshall said...

Kate, I'm so glad you are having fun with writing again. That's always good.

Thanks, Deena,

And yes, Lisa, Hank and John were in the same keynote speech (along with Maureen Johnson). They were lots of fun. Hank also did another session on Web sites since he runs ecogeek.com, but I didn't get to go to that one. And Maureen and John did another session together on general YA lit.