Because I’m probably the last person to blog about the conference, this’ll be a quick-n-dirty version. For the keynotes and workshops, I took varying amounts of notes, but for each one I tried to find a take-away message – something I could refer to or apply directly to my writing. Here’s a quick compilation of my take-away messages. I tried to remember which take-aways are direct quotes & gave them the necessary punctuation; I apologize for any mistakes. In 40 handwritten pages of notes and reflections, mistakes are inevitable.
Laurie Halse Anderson: “Defend, protect, and celebrate childhood.”
Jon Scieszka: “Don’t put kids to sleep – wake ’em up!”
Veronica Rossi: Get to work on the log lines – they can help you figure out if your book is high-concept or not. (I only got to stay for half of Veronica’s talk.)
Steve Malk: Get your priorities straight, and be honest. Find a career model to follow.
Panel on YA Worldbuilding with Veronica Rossi, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Tahereh Mafi, & Ransom Riggs: How the world is, is important. How your character views the world and how the world & character interact – VERY important.
Mac Barnett: “Do bold, experimental things.”
Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler: When cowriting a novel, decide message & tone, level of humor vs. seriousness.
Matt de la Pena: “Put your head down, don’t worry about where you fit in, & work your ass off.”
Melissa Manlove: “When you want something you can’t have, it marks you in some way.”
Carolyn Mackler: Get your priorities straight. It’s okay to go slow with the writing & focus on these years when the kids are young.
Ginger Clark: do another polish on your manuscript before sending it out. The ending is probably not good enough.
David Wiesner: There are different ways to approach an idea. Don’t force what doesn’t work.
Kirby Larsen: Research combined with poetry can help you grow an appropriate vocabulary for your character.
Lin Oliver & Henry Winkler: Write the kind of humor that makes you laugh.
Jarrett Krosoczka: Try new things and see what works.
Overall, the conference was inspiring and informative. Plus I got to stay some of the nights with my BFF D-Chan, who lives nearby. She let me try on all of her wigs, which was super-fun. We went to some awesome restaurants, including Fab Hot Dogs, which I’d been looking forward to for MONTHS. And we had ramen at this place that has probably ruined me for all future ramen forever. So now I need to go back!
THANK YOU to the SCBWI California North/Central region for making my trip possible with a grant!