There should be an Iowa-nice saying. The Iowa SCBWI Conference organizers welcomed us Minnesota party crashers with open arms as usual. The hospitality of these southern friends has motivated us to make Des Moines an annual road trip destination. And next year we might need a bus.
Once again, they doled out wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration. Here’s some to pay forward:
Lisa Morlock and Debbie LaCroix kicked the conference off with this YouTube parody by Sue Fleiss of Anna Kendrick’s “When I’m Gone” cup song.
In their presentations regarding young adult and middle grade novels, Jan Blazanin and Eileen Boggess mentioned so many titles by authors whose names I didn’t recognize, I drooled a little during my open-mouthed stare. I whispered to my writing partner. “I need to read more.” Mercifully, she didn’t zing me with sarcasm. But, we’ve both been on a reading frenzy since.
Blazanin’s book, Fairest of Them All, is on my to-read list. Other young adult novels she recommends include: Bitter End by Jennifer Brown, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna.
Boggess shared her series and trilogies methodology:
- Every book in a series or trilogy needs to have its own logical arc and structure.
- Each book should give the reader enough to enjoy what they are reading but hold back enough to leave them wanting more.
Boggess gained this knowledge developing her own successful (and funny) middle grade MIA book series. She urges series and trilogy writers to create and consider the protagonist’s whole world, because readers will know if something isn’t consistent. She also warns writers to be careful which characters we kill off, so we don’t have to resort to another clichéd phew-it-was-only-a-dream scene.
I promise, I’ll share more IA Conference notes next week.
In the meantime, special thanks to the event committee (Connie Heckert, Lisa Morlock, Dorothia Rohner, and Eileen Boggess) and all speakers and volunteers for putting on another memorable event.