Me and The Disco Mermaids - Hi Robin! Hi Jay! Hi Eve!
So much wisdom packed into 4 days!
It reminded me of those old game shows where they put some adrenaline-hyped up winner (the poor sap) in a glass tube filled with dollar bills, then they turn on the fan below her and as the bills whip and flash through the vacuum-charged air, and she's trying NOT to remind everyone of that famous photo of Marilyn Monroe on the subway vent, she has 10 seconds to catch and thus keep as much money as she can.
Of course, I missed most of the cash, but here are some of the harder gems that knocked me in the head and that I managed to remember to write down:
Laura Rennert, Agent, on elements of successful picture books. They...
"Render the ordinary extraordinary."Margaret Peterson Haddix, Author, on your character doing things that move your plot forward. But,
"Your character doesn't know there is a plot. Why are your characters doing that?"
Stephen Malk, Agent, giving advice...
"Have a career model. Do a case study of a career."
Arthur A. Levine, Editor, in his keynote on the surprising health of the picturebook market, poking fun at the alarmist narrative of it's demise (you have to do your best to imagine his "Mr. Bill" impression)...
David Gale, Editor, on the amazing picturebook "And Tango Makes Three" by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole, which is the true story of two gay penguins at the Central Park Zoo and the baby penguin they raise as their own...
"For the last two years, it was the most challenged book in America."
and on Tango's huge success
"It has followed a different sales model" than any other picturebook - spiking in sales after each challenge!
David LaRochelle, Author, on how to write funny
"Think about what makes you laugh."
Lin Oliver, Author, following that point up
"You can't be funny in someone else's way."
Sid Fleishman, Author, on other people's judging his humor
"If I laugh at the typewriter, that's enough for me."
and then, someone in the audience called out,
"What's a typewriter?"
Rachel Cohn, Author, on treating your characters
"Don't smother - that's (s) Mother your characters and have them make better choices."
And then Rachel shared Gail Giles' advice on writing for teens,
"'I've had characters remind me that consequences are meaningless at that age and immediate gratification takes too long.'"
Bruce Coville, Author, on writing fantasy. Go for a...
"Touch of Destiny. Kids want to believe in fate, in specialness."
and from the same talk, this one
"Strive for a sense of the numinous"
(an unexplainable sense of a larger, sacred fabric of the universe being around you.)
Adam Rex, on his background before becoming an author/illustrator...
"I got my B.F.A."
while on the screen behind him, this definition flashed:
BFA |be ef a| abbr.
Barrista of the Future,
Leonard Marcus, Children's book historian and Author, quoting the legendary Ursula Nordstrom:
"'Is there any prettier sight in the world than someone sticking out their own neck?'"
Sara Pennypacker, Author, on school visits...
"Kids love their authors, but it's a savage love."
Alan Katz, Author...
"Clip Clop is someone's else's writing to describe the sound of horses. How do your horses sound?"
John Rocco, Author/illustrator
"When you talk to one librarian it's like talking to 400 kids."
Sara Pennypacker, Author
"The Beginning of your book is a promise, and you spend the rest of the book delivering on that promise."
Susan Patron, Author...
"Yearning is a part of all art."
Susan quoting Mark Teague...
"We - our books - are doing good in the world. And that is a fine thing."
Lin Oliver, Author and Executive Director of SCBWI, to the more than 1000 authors, illustrators, editors, agents, art directors and other kid lit professionals, in the final goodbye moment of the conference main session,...
"I hope you're feeling like part of a tribe, because you are."
And I do. I really do.
Thank you to everyone above and Thank you as well to so many others that I got to meet and chat with - and please know that if I didn't talk about a gem from you, it doesn't mean you didn't throw handful after handful of beautiful baubles at me - I just didn't manage to catch those! And, of course, there were a couple that I have to save for later.
For now, I'm full of ideas, and joy, and a sense of Tribe, and I say to you all...