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.