Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Best of the SCBWI conference Canada East

I'm still in mourning that the conference is OVER. What a weekend! With only 45 seats available, there was a casual, intimate vibe that I just loved! The whole thing ran smoothly thanks to the super-human efforts of the organizer Jackie Paynaert. This woman is vivacious, hilarity and you should go check out her blog right now!

Only thing I regret - why, WHY do I always forget to take PHOTOS at these events? Sorry, I got nothing. But I feel strongly blog posts must have photos so here is a random shot of my man on our expedition last year.

So, here's the Cole's notes version of some of the brillance that resonated with me at the conference:

Terri Farley - author of the Stallion series
on why we write
  • "we can help kids feel lke they have a part in the world"
  • "families aren't perfect. Books show kids that's normal"
  • Mine your own childhood for horror - "crawl back into the skin of the child that you were - there are plenty of lessons there"
  • our job as story tellers is to "hold back the darkness for kids."
Veronica Rossi - author of the upcoming series the Never Sky
on high concept
  • write the back flap of the book first. This keeps you focused on what the heart of the story is.
  • make a list of ten things that could happen to your character. Avoid the first three. The last two ideas are probably the best
  • high concept = a short log line
template for log line

After (inciting incident) a (character description) must (primary action) or risk (stakes) in order to (end goal)

Sydney Salter - author of My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters
on writing believable characters
  • "take time to let the characters reflect after a dramatic event before going to the next plot point. It will add weight to the story. A pause alerts the reader that they've changed."
  • "Let the character return to a place where something important happened and reflect how they see things differently now."     LOVE THIS
  • TIPS - read Teen magazines: answer the quiz as your character to get to know her. Study the body language in the sections "is he into you?". Read the excerpts of most embarrasing moments - can make interesting back story for your secondary characters.

edit: stole this photo from Sydney's facebook post.

Faculty, left to right - Veronica Rossi, Terri Farley, Hillary Vandusen, Josh Adams, Sydney Salter, Fran Cannon Slayton

ALSO, here's my signed loot I brought home!


Paul Greci said...

Great tips, Terry!! Thanks for sharing.

Julie said...

Nice synopsis, Terry. It was great to hang out with you. Hope your drive home was nice.

Theresa Milstein said...

Only 45 people? Wow - that's tiny! The New England one is bigger than that, but it's still smaller than New York.

Thanks for the great advice. I especially like the tips to write the jacket first and returning to the place where something important happened with a new perspective.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Write the synopsis first? Oh crap!
Glad you had such an awesome time.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, wow. there is a lot of good stuff here, Terry. I'm bookmarking! :-)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Bummer you forgot to take photos! Good tips and so happy you had a good time.

Veronica said...

Terry, so great meeting you! Looking forward to another late night of story-telling with you...

Anna Staniszewski said...

I totally forgot to take pictures at the conference I went to this weekend. Glad I'm not the only one. :-)

I looove Sydney Salter's advice--great stuff!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great advice. Thanks for sharing what you learned. I love the idea of writing the flap copy first.

Anonymous said...

AaaaOOOOO, great advice, thanks for sharing!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the logline tip! And the others!! Sounds like you had a wonderful time - awesome!! :)

Janet, said...

Sounds like you had a great time. I've met Fran Cannon Slayton before, she's so nice. We have a writer's conference here in WV in early June.

Katie Dodge said...

Hey Terry! I don't know if you remember me, I "met" you on inkwell last November. You helped me out with gaining perspective on one of my characters. Anyway, I love the tip about the reflection from a different place. Such a great thing for a character to do but I think gets overlooked often.

Ⓙ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

You always offer something interesting, Terry. And the photo of your significant other on the clear water is wonderful!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Thanks for sharing this great advice!

Christina Farley said...

Looks like you had a fabulous conference! Great advice too. Thanks for sharing.