Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I have disappointed . . .

our readers who have heard of my great note-taking skills. I know there are people out there panting and salivating, waiting for my legendary notes from the L.A. SCBWI.

Here's the deal.

I did take some great notes, but there were people there taking better notes. Yes. I'm talking about Team Blog. They went to every single keynote and, since there were several of them, they went to every single breakout session as well. And, they blogged their tails off. I bow down to Team Blog.

Instead of my usual court reporter transcription of my notes, I thought I'd just hit some highlights and share some quotes that really hit home with me.

Sherman Alexie: After he was published he began to hear from teens from all socio-economic groups with the same theme: that of feeling trapped--i.e. "my choices are being made for me."

"Things change when you can get a kid to identify with someone unlike himself."

David Weisner: Worlds within worlds.

Steven Malk: Don't dibble dabble--you must go in all the way.

Courtney Bongiolatti: You need a very obvious climax in a picture book (subtle is not the way to go).

Jordon Brown: The first book you acquire is like your first sexual experience.

Marietta Zacker: Resident "passionista".

Kadir Nelson: Both the art and the text have to speak to both a personal truth and a universal truth.

Eve Bunting: Asks herself "is this worth saying" after she finishes a manuscript.

Melinda Long: Picture book must appeal to both children and adults--adults should be able to say "I remember when I felt this way."

Karen Cushman: How to live a successful life--show up, pay attention, tell the truth, and let go of the outcome.

Ellen Hopkins: Expect to work hard, and don't make Everest your first climb. Expect switchbacks.

Jordon Brown: Great voice and great character are what create a great plot.

Dan Yaccarino: Always do your personal work, it will feed your professional work. And, try to create as many opportunities as you can.

Holly Black: Fantasy must have elements of fear and awe (with just fear, it's horror) as well as a human subplot that starts earlier and ends later than the fantasy plot.

Richard Peck: "You can teach children or you can fear their parents, but you cannot do both."

"We can't be fired, we're unemployed" [writers].

"Story is always a question, never an answer."

"We need literature that celebrates the individual in the most conformist generation in history."

Elizabeth Law: "If I can go on a blind date in New York, then you can submit your manuscript."

Kathleen Duey: Story is connective tissue.

Now, go forth and create.


Katie said...

Wow SF! I much prefer these cool quotes!! Dude, u rock!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Great quotes! Elizabeth Law cracked me up with the blind date quip. And Richard Peck, the man is just brilliant. Thanks for reminding me of the highlights =)

Lisa and Laura said...

Ok, this makes me feel like I was there, but we need pictures!

storyqueen said...

Thanks, I feel like the naughty girl peeking over your shoulder cheating on a test! Thanks again for sharing your notes with us.

What's the one most important thing you brought back?


Christy Raedeke said...

Amazing distillation! Thanks!

Irene Latham said...

Great quotes, SF! Thanks for sharing. Sherman Alexie is AWESOME> Love that one.

Hardygirl said...

Storyqueen--interesting question. The one most important thing that I brought back . . . hmm.

I think I'll have to answer RECHARGED BATTERIES. The sessions were all great and inspiring in their own ways (even the ones that did not pertain to my genre). But I also got some great mojo from hanging out with fabulous writer friends--both new and old--as well as agents and editors who were approachable, energetic and positive.


Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, terrific quotes! Thanks for sharing, SF!

Corey Schwartz said...

Me again. I am very intrigued by Courtney's comment. You don't happen to remember if she gave any examples, do you?

Kimberly Derting said...

I'd say you definitely gave Team Blog a run for their money...I saw you scribbling away! Besides, your quotes are awesome!!

storyqueen said...

Oh, what I wouldn't give for some of that mojo!

Great job, SF!


Kelly H-Y said...

This is perfect!!! Thank you, thank you for the inspiration!

Hardygirl said...


She talked about it (the obvious climax) in the context of Joe Fenton's What's Under the Bed. There is an obvious shift--the monster becomes afraid of the child (or something like that, I think . . .). But there was a clear change that happened in the story.


Shelli said...

what!!!!! you teased us. we were all slackers, waiting on your excellent notes to be published. man im bummed. :)

Stephanie Perkins said...

Thank you so much for sharing. Holly Black's ideas flickered on a light bulb above my head!

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