May 8, 2013 § 11 Comments
In her keynote speech at NESCBWI, Sharon Creech mentioned, “Words generate words.” She was talking about the act of inspiration, and how ideas come to you, but I think this is also a good lens with which to look at rest of the weekend. Enthusiasm sparks more enthusiasm, creativity creates more creativity.
Which is one reason I like going to conferences like NESCBWI. When you put a bunch of writers and illustrators in a room, our excitement and dedication and talents are amplified, which is a pretty cool thing to be a part of. Writing can be a very solitary business and even though the internet has made it easier to connect with like-minded people, you can’t beat the feeling of gathering in one place for a weekend.
Last year was my first at NESCBWI, so I didn’t really know anyone and was afraid of not having anyone to talk to. This year, I felt like I kept seeing people I knew, both from real life and from social media. I wasn’t just someone at a conference; I was part of a community, a vibrant community that supports its members.
Of course, I got to experience lots of great panels and workshops and speeches from awesome writers and illustrators. A few conference highlights:
- Great keynotes by Sharon Creech and Grace Lin. I want to take a poetry class with Creech, who quotes Rilke and Robert Frost and Walter Dean Myers in her speech. Creech also mentioned the importance of taking naps for inspiration–duly noted! And Grace Lin was so dynamic and enthusiastic. Not being an illustrator or picture book author, I didn’t expect to connect with her speech as much as I did, but she was honest and thoughtful and energetic. Between her humor, her spirit, and her talent, Lin’s one of the coolest people ever. (And she dresses snazzy, too!)
- My critique group got matching t-shirts to celebrate member Tara Sullivan’s upcoming publication of Golden Boy. We rocked the guerrilla marketing.
- Very cool panel about the review process. Leila Roy of bookshelves of doom represented, which made me go all fangirl. Her blog has been a favorite since back before I knew I wanted to focus solely on writing YA. Also, very glad to hear that professional reviews really want to love every book they start, and that they want to find ways to connect books with potential readers.
- Workshopping first chapter/pages with Nova Ren Suma. She led a great session, and the other workshop attendees were all thoughtful critiquers. (Lots of us are trying to keep in touch online; can’t wait to see how all those first pages end up!)
- Great session on writing characters outside of your culture. It’s something several future novel ideas of mine involve, but I want to make sure I represent these characters and their backgrounds accurately and thoughtfully. One suggestion I liked was not to be afraid to go beyond the “romantic” parts of a culture, like holidays and folk traditions–get into the messiness of real life.
- On the social media side, one session about connecting with book bloggers (something I need to prepare for in the debut process) and making videos (something I should be doing now). My goal is to start a regular video feature here, so get ready for some visual aid.
- Getting to spend a weekend with my awesome critique group members, getting to see other friends and making new ones.
Thanks so much to this year’s organizers for putting on a great conference. I’m already thinking of next year when might book might be out, too. Eee!
May 3, 2013 § Leave a Comment
NESCBWI has so much conference awesomeness, I needed two posts to get in all the gifs. (If you missed yesterday’s post, check out Part I here.) More gif-ery below!
Going to the bookstore:
Getting your books signed:
The line for the ladies room:
When someone (especially an agent/editor/famous writer) thinks your book sounds cool:
When someone says they think social media is a waste of time:
Hearing about how even really successful writers still deal with lots of rejection:
When you find someone who also likes historical YA/sci-fi MG/picture books about otters:
Trying to find a place for dinner on Saturday night:
Talking to the person who doesn’t know how to stop trying to network:
Getting to vent with people who understand:
What it feels like to be around so many awesome people for the weekend:
What you feel like doing once you go home:
What you feel like on Monday morning:
But then you remember the good conference vibes and:
So are you going to NESCBWI ’14?
See you in Springfield, fellow NESCBWI-ers!
July 27, 2012 § 3 Comments
The kids’ keynote speaker at this year’s Boston Book Festival: Lemony Snicket! From the BBF website:
“2012′s BBF kids’ keynote will be delivered by the elusive and mysterious Lemony Snicket, author of the wildly popular Series of Unfortunate Events. This October, he’ll be publishing Who Could That Be At This Hour? the first volume of his autobiography, an account that shouldn’t be published, in four volumes that should never be read. .”
Notice that the use of Lemony Snicket, not Daniel Handler. So excited for this one! Hoping to see more events for the festival posted soon.
July 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The 2012 SCBWI Summer Conference is fast approaching. If you’re headed to LA and want to get pumped, or staying at home (like I am) and want to feel that conference-y goodness, check out these pre-conference interviews from the SCBWI conference blog. In Martha Brockenbrough’s interview with agent Jill Corcoran, Jill talks about what she’s looking for in YA romance and why that’s hard to find:
“Maybe it is difficult to recapture the innocence and wonder of first or even second love. Of crushes and unrequited love. Of waiting for that kiss, that touch, that moment when you no longer think straight and lose a part of yourself–for the good and the bad–to the person you ‘think’ you love. Of discerning between love and lust towards another person, and towards you. Of truth and lies. Of wanting to believe and not trusting your gut…it is about characters–soul-searching, groin-yearning, heart thumping, heart breaking, fast paced, laugh out loud, cry out loud, make me want to be your character ROMANCE!”
June 25, 2012 § 1 Comment
Check out Susan Cooper’s acceptance speech for the 2012 Margaret A. Edwards award.
Such a well-deserved award. Congratulations to Susan Cooper; we’re luck to have her as a voice in children’s literature.