Wednesday, August 17, 2005

LA Conference Notes

I finally got my notes all typed up, and as I suspected there were a lot of people talking about character (or maybe I just chose to write those things down). The notes I'm sharing are in two sections, characters and quotes.

Characters
If your character doesn’t come first, nurture it. Assume the character exists and try to find out who they are so that you can tell their story. - Kathleen Duey

The difference between a good movie and a B movie is that the characters in good movies are believable. The ones in B movies are more likely to go to their attic in their nightgown in the middle of the night to investigate a noise, which nobody would really do. - Kathleen Duey

(This one is not specifically about character, it’s about place and setting, but place can serve as a character in some stories)
Place / setting – it's good to be as specific as possible, if it’s done well, people will like it, whether they know about it or not. You shouldn’t make it too bland to please everyone, because then no one wins. - Megan McCafferty

Know your characters as people, each one should have a distinctive voice. - Julia DeVillers

Give us someone to root for, someone we can empathize with – human, genuine, makes mistakes. They must be flawed, they must have a strong desire they want to accomplish, and they must be active / take action instead of waiting for something to happen. If your character doesn’t care about the problem, it won’t carry through the book. – Bruce Hale

Build your character around one funny detail, a starter seed (funny details are gold). - Gennifer Choldenko

Gave yourself time for your subconscious to work...Make lists of every solution to problem that you can think of. Even if you don’t come up with a solution on your list, it’s a warm up for your head, and you might think of it later (while in the shower or on a walk, etc.). - Gennifer Choldenko

Brainstorm everything you can think of about that character that makes them unique. What does your character have hidden in their closet? - Julie Strauss-Gabel

You should be writing dialog that’s so distinct to the character that it’s clear who is talking without much, if any, he/she said. – Bruce Coville

Quotes
It’s what you do with the junk (ideas) that matters. Add light to junk in a cylinder and it becomes a rose window (kaleidoscope). Add light to ideas and they become a story. - Rosemary Wells

Pay attention to your process, and whatever works, do that. And if you have a good day, notice why and try to do it again. - Kathleen Duey

(This one is about writing, but I think it applies to illustration too.)
Any kind of writing is writing, and you don’t know what it will lead to. - Christopher Paul Curtis

Don’t forget to thank your teenage self for living through those years. - Julia DeVillers

Everything in a teen’s life is about first experiences and emotional extremes…they are in a constant state of humiliation. - Sonya Sones

Write EVERY day, like it’s you JOB. - Christopher Paul Curtis and Gennifer Choldenko both said this about how they work.

New age groups: 9-11 = Tween, 12-16 = Teen, 17-25 = New YA (high YA / crossover) - Julie Strauss-Gabel

You can get a kid to listen to a book that they might not read. – Bruce Coville

(On reasons to do books for boys)
Boys should be able to see themselves in books. – Arthur Levine

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