Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Top Take-Aways from NESCBWI 2014

If you're wondering what this has to do with anything, then go ahead and read #1 first.

5. Sometimes your first keynote is so good it’s gonna be hard to top: Laurel Snyder (author of  Seven Stories Up and many other books) gave a rousing and inspiring speech at the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators annual conference in Springfield, MA. Turned out, it was her first such "big" speech, and she was allegedly nervous. Trust me, it didn't show.

Can't wait to read Seven Stories Up! Great review on Rosanne Parry's blog.

I especially loved how Snyder approaches audience. She asks writers to reflect on this question: Whose ear are you whispering into?

4. Book promotion can be a tough job. It can seem endless. So, I especially liked hearing Lynda Mullaly Hunt (author of One for the Murphys) say, simply: “Do fewer things and do them well.”

3. The best workshops or sessions distill what's obvious, although you somehow didn’t notice before. Historian, author, and blogger J.L. Bell spoke about building narrative momentum, but what caught my attention (obvious though it may be) is when he said, “Start your story when things change for the protagonist in a very big way.” Oh…right.

2. Following close on J.L. Bell’s insights, agent Kathleen Rushall took one look at my middle grade novel in progress and said: “Be wary of starting with a dream.” Again, advice that distills the obvious—and obviously should be followed. 

1. Last, but not least, here’s the only take-away with kid appeal: When you gather many, many children’s book writers together for a NESCBWI conference, the hotel will have to turn all the bathrooms on the third floor into women’s bathrooms for the duration. And even that might not be enough.

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