Pondering SCBWI Summer, 2012 ---Drinking from a Firehose

Pondering the Possibilities of  Drinking From a Firehose

Or What I Learned from the Summer 2012 Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Conference



Did the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators http://www.scbwi.org
Conference in L.A. help me with my writing?  

I am writing--attempting to write--my first fantasy novel, Clare's Crow

The truth is, I'm a newby writer, and there was a lot of   information at the conference.  I overheard someone saying it was like  trying to drink water from a fire hose. 

There are so many ideas I am still processing from the conference, but here are some take-aways  I am ready to share:

The SCBWI  gave me a wide-angle view of  the  children's writing community.

 It gave me a closeup of published authors sharing their struggles and  successes.  

 I  got to zoom in on the experience of  top-flight editors looking to find a great story.

 I took away new strategies I need to make my story better.

 The SCBWI conference gave me a welcome community.  I   met  people, like myself, who love children's  books. 

I attended Ari Lewin's breakout session on Writing Fantasy.  Ms. Lewin is an executive editor at GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers.    She helped me think like an editor looking for a good story to publish.   

With Lewin's help, I  imagined myself an editor about to find that elusive manuscript.  I'd  be reading the manuscript of  THE GOLDEN COMPASS  or  ARTEMIS FOWL. They'd be a  pleasure to read for so many reasons. They wouldn't rush me into the magic.  Instead they'd carefully draw me into their worlds through strong narrative and vivid characters. They would build the suspense, not giving anything away.  They would be real page-turners.

I also attended  the breakout session led by Matthew Kirby,  award-winning author of The Clockwork Three, Icefall, and book five of the forthcoming Infinity Ring series, http://matthewjkirby.com/kirbside.  (I am reading and enjoying The Clockwork Three right now.) 
Kirby took the time to share his  hard-won insights on writing.  He gave a presentation on Voice to an overflow audience. Two takes-aways for me were:

Voice is Language intersecting with Character.  You cannot  attack voice directly.   

 Voice emerges organically. You have to create a space for your voice to grow, like a garden.

Voice is connected to concise vocabulary: the choice of regional dialect, the rhythm in the text, The  fit of the vocabulary with the type of story.

Finally Kirby gave us heartfelt encouragement:

Give yourself the right to treat writing as a career and it will create a shift in your thinking.


 That's me in the blue getting all excited about the The Golden Kite Luncheon Staff Introductions
  (--not really...but I was there  too, getting just as excited, only not in the picture).

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