8/3/10

What I Learned at the SCBWI LA Conference

SCBWI conference brought us a fantastic group of authors and illustrators who were hysterical, inspirational, emotional and historical. I fumbled my way through my first conference and now that I know what to expect, I’ll learn so much more next time.  For now, this is what I learned:

  • Authors and illustrators are very funny, especially picture book authors. 
  • Force yourself to mingle. Amazing authors, writers and illustrators will emerge. 
  • I learned that not all agents/editors are scary. Some are very friendly AND approachable. 
  • Take workshops on what you haven’t ever googled or learned on your own but will need to know eventually in the industry: book packagers, reason for imprints, types of editors. 
  • Seasoned writers: should take workshops from agents/editors over authors. Not that we don’t have a lot to learn from our predecessors but those who actually work in the publishing industries gave me knowledge of the industry vs. the craft. 
  • Beginner writers: should take workshops from authors, who speak on voice, plot, hooks, etc. 
  • MS consultations are more helpful to a finely polished MS. When you can’t do anymore with it, pay for the critic. Prior to that, you can get your critique partners to help you. 
  • I’m out of the loop on who’s who of literary authors. Sure we all know the commercial authors: Stephanie Meyer, Stephen King, and John Grisham (not to say they are not literary too) but who are the literary authors who create beautiful, timeless, classic books who dedicate their life to writing for children. I plan to blog about these literary authors and keynotes speakers who touched and inspired me. 

I didn’t leave there feeling inspired on my current WIP like I thought.  There’s no muse flowing from me to write the greatest passages about my characters and I didn’t resolve all my plot holes but there is a new inspiration that I’ve never felt before.  I want to be a literary writer not just a writer.  I want every word I commit to page to be the best I can and I want to take my quality of work to the “wow” stage.  Now do I think that will happen next week, next month or even next year…no.  But I do expect it to happen.  I’ve been writing to get the story out but now, I plan to write to get my best words out.

Blogs coming spawned by the SCBWI LA 2010 conference:
Harper Collins Overview
Claudia Gabel – I like your MS, now what?
Inspirational Literary Authors and why we need to know them.
Quotes from SCBWI (and how they speak to me)
Carolyn Mackler – For richer or Poorer: Writing through good times and bad

Look for these blogs in the next coming weeks!

Oh yes!  I forgot, I met lot a few blogger buddies but only got one picture the entire time I was there.  Here is me and Carolina Valdez Miller from Carol's Prints.  Let me just say, she's a total sweetheart, just as true as her blog portrays.


6 comments :

  1. Sounds like it was a fruitful time. Looking forward to your follow-up posts!

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  2. Thanks for sharing your lessons with the rest of us. Looking forward to reading your blog on literary authors.

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  3. You know Laurel, it was more of a thought provoking time that did I actually learn something specific to the craft. I learned a lot about the industry as well.

    Mohamed - The term "literary writers" was foreign to me prior to this conference. I know it seems silly but besides the "commercial classics" I never fully wrapped myself around the literary writers of our time or during my lifetime I'd say.

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  4. Great intro to SCBWI, and an honest one too! I can't wait to read your follow-ups, especially since I missed the last two days of conference.

    Tropic Thunder was on tv the other night and I TOTALLY thought of you!!

    Hugs :)
    Di

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  5. I'm looking forward to your posts about the conference. I went to the last two winter conferences in NYC and I hope to make it to the summer one next year. :)

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  6. Very informative post! Thanks for sharing. And I'm uber-jealous that you rubbed shoulders with Carol!!

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