On Saturday Super Blog Buddy Sarah and I attended the One-Day Conference sponsored by our local San Diego SCBWI. This day-long event was filled with great speakers and several panel discussions filled with useful tips and information. I thought I would share with you a very brief overview of the day.
Here is a list of the speakers and panels:
Voice: The Elusive Element that Sets Your Writing Apart
Kim T. Griswell, Senior Editor, Highlights, Inc.
Using examples from some fabulous books, Kim shared that “voice” has the ability to illuminate the ordinary and that a writer must use the following to bring out more in their writing:
- Place- use events in your childhood, the city where you grew up
- Personal Experience- reveal yourself and write with emotional truth
- Use all 5 senses- allow your readers to smell, hear, taste, touch and see what your character is experiencing.
The View from Inside HarperCollins Books for Children
Sarah Dotts-Barley, Associate Editor, HarperCollins Books for Children
Sharing examples from the lives of E.B. White and Ursula Nordstrom, Sarah explained how the following are needed in a good story:
- Emotional Truth
- Unforgettable Voice
The “Meet the Agents”panel included:
Chris Richman, Literary Agent, Upstart Crow Literary Agency
Jill Corcoran, Literary Agent, Herman Agency
Natalie M. Fischer, Literary Agent, Sandra Dijkstra/Bradford Literary Agency
A variety of topics were discussed including:
- What elements to include in a good query letter; how your story fits in the market, any hooks, and a true synopsis of the story
- Rights- standard, digital, etc…
- Marketing Trends
- Pitching your story
The View from Inside Kane Miller Books: A Publisher’s Perspective
Kira Lynn, Publisher, Kane Miller Books, a Division of EDC Publishing
Using examples from the current Kane Miller list, Kira shared what her publishing house was seeking and what makes a book stand out:
- Good Stories
- Meaningful Plots
- Good Story Arc
- Common Experiences
- The ability to reach readers
Expanding Technology: Implications for the Future of Children’s Books
David Diaz, Illustrator, acclaimed artist, graphic designer, Caldecott Medalist
David explained that the book industry is changing. Using examples from the music industry, David reminded us that while things are changing the essence of what we do is still the same. We may be feeling like we are in “The Wild West” but in the next few years things will settle down and a new reality will emerge.
In addition to these topics we also had a “First Pages” panel where the first page of a manuscript was read and a “Log Line” panel where a brief synopsis (similar to something that would be in a query) of a story was read. The panelists shared their opinions on the strength and weaknesses of the submissions.
Natalie Fischer has posted her overview of the day on her blog as well. Natalie was able to touch on more great information that I couldn’t fit on this page so be sure to check it out.
Thanks to the lovely ladies at the San Diego SCBWI for a great day.
Writing on the Sidewalk