This year, I heard Cynthea Liu, Alan Gratz, Dan Yaccarino, Emma Ledbetter, Patti Ann Harris, Joy Neaves, Emily Easton, and more speak to us. The agent panel was lively with Stephen Barr, Sarah Davies, and Danielle Smith.
A few things I learned:
- When submitting attachments (and only when requested, of course), make sure they are .doc and not .docx.
- Do what works for you.
- Stay true to your vision.
- Set clear goals and write them down, even the ones that seem unattainable.
- Celebrate every success, but especially the small ones like finishing a manuscript, getting your 10th rejection letter, writing for a solid hour this week.
- The main character can be the antagonist, while it's the protagonist who actually does the changing.
- To sell a lot of picture books, your book must do at least one of these three things really well (more is better):
- deal with a subject that speaks to the child
- use rich language to create special moments
- create genuine characters
- Word count doesn't really matter.
- Idea notebooks are important.
- It's always about the craft, the actual writing. Keep practicing.
- Even in the first 200 words, be grounded in time and place, get to the conflict early on, hint at what's at stake for your character, save all the details for later, and use good language without being too descriptive.
- And of course READ, READ, READ, WRITE, WRITE, WRITE, REVISE, REVISE, REVISE
Looking forward to the final workshop with Cynthea Liu and the Closing Keynote with Dan Yaccarino tomorrow morning. It feels good to be recharged.
Today's QUESTION: What do you do to get recharged? Yearly, monthly, weekly, even daily?
My annual SCBWI conference is a definite must! Not sure about the rest of the year, anybody have any great ideas?
Keep on keepin' on...