Thanks to the leadership and volunteers of the Minnesota Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators (SCBWI) for coordinating a fabulous 2014-2015 conference.
Event organizers usually hear more from participants about technology glitches and rest room malfunctions than when the life-bettering experiences they orchestrate. I hope that wasn’t the case this October.
These are the unsung leaders:
- Quinette Cook – Regional Advisor
- Jessica Freeburg – Assistant Regional Advisor
- Alicia Schwab – Regional Illustrator Coordinator
- Nina Crittendon – Registration Coordinator
- Celia Waldock – Mentorship Coordinator
I don’t think any toilets overflowed, but our cups sure did, with professional guidance, reinvigorated vision, and fellowship with other writers and illustrators.
Saturday, October 11, keynotes, workshops, and manuscript reviews were topped off by book signings, a reception, and a portfolio showcase.
Bruce Hale, author of over 30 books for young readers, including the award-winning Chet Gecko Mysteries, School for S.P.I.E.S, and the Clark the Shark picture books, led the charge with Writer’s Mind, Warrior’s Mind: Winning the War of Art.
Hale instructed us with humor and inspiration, quoting the likes of E. L. Doctorow: “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” And Steven Pressfield: “Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. This second, we can sit down and do our work.”
Bruce Hale’s checklist for victory:
- Start good habits.
- Write like your hair is on fire.
- Think it through, take the big view.
- Teamwork makes the dream work.
- Face the iron tiger.
- Beat resistance with persistence.
See more at BruceHaleWritingTips.com
Saturday workshops included Carter Hasegawa, Assistant Editor, Candlewick Press, presenting Researching the Fantastic; and Emily Clement, Associate Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books presenting Love at First Sight: The Great First Page.
Since the workshops occurred simultaneously, I only have notes on Emily Clement’s workshop.
When Clement receives a manuscript she asks herself these questions: Does it evoke emotion? Does it have that little something extra? Does it make her feel something? Does it exude authority and confidence, a language and style that intrigues, and expectations, hints, or promises?
Some of her examples of great first pages:
- Lisa Yee’s Millicent Min, Girl Genius
- Bobbie Pyron’s Lucky Strike
- Kate Milford’s Greenglass House
- Nikki Loftin’s Nightingale Nest
Look for more conference highlights about Lisa Yee, Kelly Light, and ABDO Publishing in upcoming posts. In the meantime, check out my 2014 MN SCBWI Conference Photo Album where you’ll see the photos from this story and more.