Monday, February 6, 2006

Friday night in NYC and old conference notes

The night started out at a great cocktail party that bravebethany invited me to. Then Sasha (kestrella) and I booked over to the Hilton to catch up with Tracy (tab_walton), Angele (who's taking sarazarr's class with me), Cynthia, Amy (Amyo on Verla's), Heather (HB on Verla's), Danielle, Lisa, Diane, for a fun dinner at Cosi. We never did make it to the Strand because we were talking so much. Some of us even had a nightcap at the bar before heading home.

It was a great night, and lots of fun! We even took pictures...but since I don't have a digital camera yet, you'll have to wait until I use my film up to see the pictures - sorry!

I didn't get to the conference, or get to meet minabirdwriter - maybe next year :0)

p.s. tamarak started an LJ conference this weekend. I've put notes up on my blog in the past year, but here are some notes from before I had a blog:

SCBWI - LA Conference Highlights 2004

First Drafts: Many people talked about the importance of finishing a first draft. Just write until it's done. It doesn't matter if it's awful (it probably will be) or too short (Karen Cushman's are sometimes only 60 pages long.)
*Karen Cushman also said: "The first draft is for learning what the story is about."
*Donna Jo Napoli said: "The only goal of a first draft is to be finished. If at chapter 10 you realize you have to have a dog in the story that will change the whole thing, go back to page one and put a note: dog, and keep going."

Emotional Stories: Another theme throughout the conference was to make sure your stories strike an emotional cord with your reader.
*From Libba Bray: "You have to take emotional risks with your story."
*From David Levithan: "Emotions and characters need to be real and true, and something they (kids) can relate to."
*Donna Jo Napoli: "People read fiction to experience the emotions of the character."

General Market Rules that agent Jodi Reamer talked about
(characters should be no older/younger than market):
* YA: 40K–60K words, 12-16 years old
* MG: 30K–40K words, 10-12 years old
* Chap. Bk: 70-110 pages, 7-10 years old
* EZ: 50-80 pages, 5-8 years old (simple words, short sentences, engaging characters)
* PB: no more than 6ms pages, text and ill. equally strong if you want to do both, lush language

Quotes that are inspiring, or funny...
*Gordon Korman: " Look at 8th graders as New Yorkers – they’ve seen and done it all, and are not impressed by anything."
*Robert Sabuda: "Be open to suggestions" (He was talking about art, but it applies to writing as well.)
*Bruce Coville: "Character + Problem + Solution = Story" and "If you ain’t riskin’, you ain’t writin' " (Several people talked about how essential it is to take risks in your writing - this was my favorite quote.)
*Donna Jo Napoli: "Write what you know means go learn something."
*Jon Scieszka: "Give yourself time for stuff/crud to come together."

Critiques:
*Donna Jo Napoli: Give your (complete) ms to someone to read with 2 instructions:
1. If you don’t like it, stop reading. But tell me where and why.
2. If you do read it, tell me the emotions you have while reading.

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