I gave a synopsis-template talk with over 80 people signed up to attend, and it went great! Everyone seemed to love my 4-step template for writing a one-page synopsis. I won't post it online as I hope word-of-mouth spreads and other SCBWI groups invite me to give this workshop. One woman came up a few hours later and said she'd written her synopsis in a short time thanks to my template. Another woman asked if I'd come speak to her group later this year. And Lin Oliver suggested my workshop might make a helpful intensive for a future SCBWI International Conference.
Afterwards, I went to the main room and went on the stage for introductions (always a thrill to be a speaker!),
With my talk over, I relaxed and went to other workshops. Here are some notes I took. I had my iPad and we were encouraged to tweet about the event, so I sent lots of tweets too (under lindajoysinglet). Here are my notes:
First speaker was Queen of SCBWI, Lin Oliver and she gave BEST OF BEST ADVICE over 40 YEARS
Lin Oliver, has new book written with her son and also has Henry Wrinkler series.
Was on Beverly Hillbillies as staff writer as a prize for winning a contest in 70's until quit in 3 months. Got children's book writer job via employment office, and was selected to write a series with Steve Mooser. So picked 10 fave authors and invited them to a conference so they could learn how to write for kids. All 10 famous authors replied, including EB White and Judy Blume, only EB and Dr. Suess who wrote a letter in rhyme why he could't come. 55 people attended, most relatives.
SCBWI began... now 23,000 internationally
Lin Oliver's favorite advice from famous authors and her own advice:
1 From Judy Blume - Write the kind of book you want to read.
2 From Bruce Coville - Follow your weirdness
3 From Susan Patron - Begin on the day that's different
4 Sid Fleishman - Write in scenes
5 Richard Peck - Be a listener
6 Lin's own advice: Read your work out loud
7 Be emotional but not sentimental. Don't reminisce
8 It's not a children's book if a child does not solve the problem
9 Read deeply and develop own cannon (books read)
10 Paula Danziger - Create a char you love. Think what they want and decide what's keeping them from getting it.
11 Sid Fleishman Nothing is ever wasted
12 Shorten it up....Cutting is underrated skill.
13 Keep a journal
14 Know yourself and know what you're good at. Write to your strengths.
Panel with Andrea Tompa Candlewick, Minju Chang & Kendra agents, Bret Duquet Sterling, Elice Lee Random House.
Candlewick pubs about 150 books a year - like Andrea, in suit with purple top she does all genres and likes younger than YA and excited to see younger and contemporary, etc.
Minju loves funny, make her laugh-make her cry.
Brett Duquette, Sterling is owned by BN, 3 part editorial group and he's in trade books, just started Splinter list last year for YA. 3 titles a year, hoping to expand. Likes wacky, weird and he did a zombie-orgami book. NF and poetry,too. Doesn't want sweet, wants buggers-drool. Need more mg.
Agent Kendra Marcus started in 1984. Looking for honest child's voice.
Elice Lee, RH - Art director mostly mg and YA trends returning to contemporary books - looking for something that causes a reaction.
Q - why so many photo on covers? Following trends of pop culture and tough world developing YA cover, market fickle, and changed some covers several times.
Kendra - Don't give art direction in a pb mss unless different things happening in art.
Andrea -- Shouldn't need to spell out what's happening. Leave it to illustrations. Can address anything in the cover letter.
Don't make your pb in rhyme if you don't consider yourself a poet, and international market is becoming more important and rhyme is more difficult to translate. Will still publish a great rhyming book.
Andrea's talk on revising. I gave her something but don't expect it to be used and hope it isn't. Approach your revision like youre a wood carver. Start with obvious things so it's essentially the right shape, start with plot and characters. Need to revise again and again and again.
Step 1 Save your draft
Step 2 Put finished draft in drawer/file.
Step 3 Read your mss with open mind. Fix things that jump out at you.
Then real editing begins. Asy yourself these questions during rewrites:
Is this the best it can be?
Who, what, where, when, how
Are my characters well-rounded?
Are my characters relatable, too good/too bad?
Do my characters change and grow?
Can any of the characters be combined?
Watch for stereotypes.
Tips for writing race www.mitaliblog.com
What is the situation when the novel opens?
What happens to change the situation, and how does that lead to further events?
How is story resolved? "unexpected and inevitable"
And those were the highlights!! It was an amazing conference. SCBWI rocks!