Monday, January 30, 2012

SCBWI Continued...

So, where were we? Oh yes, Saturday, post lunch. Started out with Love Triangles and Forbidden Love with NY Times Bestselling author, Cassandra Clare who gave us the deets in a clear concise manner. I will never, ever, write a crappy triangle again. I hope!

And then it was on to our next two breakout sessions. My first was with Arianne Lewin, Executive Editor, G.P. Putnam (Penguin) and she was just fabulous. We studied three excerpts from bestsellers to figure out voice and how to start a good fantasy (well actually, how to start any story well). Ari also gave us some great Do's and Dont's about writing fantasy. My favourite genre and favourite session!

My last session was with Tara Weikum, Executive Editor, Harper Collins, who spoke about YA Fiction. What's hot, what's not and lots of other good tips.

With heads imploding with information, we all headed to the Gala which was personally hosted and prepared by Lin Oliver (Thank you, Lin...the turkey breasts were superb;)). Met the fabulous Jane Yolen, Lee Wind, Emma Dryden, Chris Crutcher, Ellen Hopkins and Cheryl Klein among so many others. Not forgetting my very own peeps, Helaine Becker, Ishta Mercurio-Wentworth, Debbie Ohi, Maureen McGowan and Kari-Lynn Winters. Made lots of new friends and the air was thick with visting cards exchanging hands.

Headed off to the Alvin room for the International Mixer where I met with other authors from around the world and listened to Chris Cheng bring us up to speed. Brains turning to mush by this time but still managed to sit in the bar till midnight sipping lemon-green tea and chatting with friends.

What happened on Sunday?
Next post...and thanks for dropping by :)

Exhausted and time at the SCBWI Winter Conference 2012, NY

Wait a minute, exhausted and energized? You're probably wondering if I didn't lose a couple of marbles at the Grand Central station. I assure you, I did not. All seventeen counted and accounted for!

But this is exactly how I feel right now, after four days in New York. Helaine and I landed a day earlier to explore a bit of NY and see the Met. It was fabulous and you can see a few of the pictures in my Facebook album.

The hotel was great, right in the heart of Manhattan. And those boys from my window sure lit up my day in the morning....

Friday was the Writer's Intensive and with much trepidation nine of us sat at a round table to open up our hearts and souls to be critiqued. My group was wonderful and so was the expert on the panel, Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary Agency. We all came away a lot better for experience with a lot of honest feedback.
My afternoon session was with Kari Sutherland, Editor at HarperCollins Children's books. Another great session with a very knowledgeable faculty member wgo gave us excellent feedback on how to polish our work even better! I wanted to go back to my room right then, and get started with the polishing but that was when the rest of the Canucks started pouring in. And since the weather was so fabulous, we decided to walk around a bit and get a bite to eat. And that bite of pizza was the best I've ever had.

The above is one of the plaques on the road leading up to the NY Public Library and my favourite.

Saturday started with a hilarious speech from Lin Oliver followed by a powerful and touching keynote from Chris Chrutcher. I was completely blown away by the honesty and humour of his speech. And I was lucky enough to meet him at the Gala in the evening to tell him so.

The keynote which made me want to laugh and cry at the same time (exactly as Chris intended!) was followed by four expert impressions about Children's Books. On the panel were Jean Feiwel (Sr VP and Publishing Director, Feiwel and Friends-MacMillan), Barbara Marcus (Strategic Innovations Adviser), Nancy Paulsen(President and Publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin) and Rubin Pfeffer (Agent, East West Literary Agency).

After an informative snapshot of the world of children's book publishing, we were off to our breakout sessions. My first one was with Aimee Friedman, Senior Editor, Scholastic, who is also a NY bestseller author. She spoke about Series Fiction, discussuing the popular ones, how to write and pitch a series to an editior. Lots of good information!

And then it was lunch and there was still a lot more to look forward to. But for that you'll have to wait for the next post. Do come back :) And for more pictures, please visit me on Facebook.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Q&Q Writer Series featuring Jane Yolen

I do not know Jane Yolen personally and yet I do know her...through her words, her kind advice and her wonderful stories. I sense a kindred spirit who has figured out many struggles that I'm am currently wrestling with. Vist her website, especially the section for writers to see what I mean...

Award-winning author and known as the Hans Christian Andersen of America, Jane has written over 300 books in all genres and for all ages. Mentioning her books here would take too long, but you can find the entire list here.

 My favourite, as well as that of a few millions, is Owl Moon: a story that is calming, magical and timeless.

Jane graciously agreed to answer my questions and here they are:

1) In one word, how would you describe your personality?
Two words: Honestly lying.
2) What is your deepest desire?
To live forever. Or at least have written stories that do that.
3) Your greatest fear?
Snakes. It's always snakes.
4) Your favourite colour?
Wine. Though there are carpers who would point out that in my case "whine" is more like it.
5) A song you can't help singing along with, every time you hear it?
"Amazing Grace" and "Lay, Lady, Lay."

But if Fairport Convention is in town, "The Hiring Fair."
And these days half of the songs that Janis Ian or the Dixie Chicks sing.
6) A movie that made you cry?
"Truly, Madly, Deeply."
7) A book you have read more than five times? Or a book that influenced you the most?
As a child--probably "Ferdinand".
As an adult, probably "Moby Dick."

8) From your own oeuvre: your favorite child?
Possibly "Owl Moon" or "The Devil's Arithmetic" or "Ring of Earth" or "Girl in a Cage" or "Sword of the Rightful King." Ask me tomorrow it it might be a different list.

9) One thing you hate about being a writer?
Long waits.

10) One thing no one knows about you (and now will)?
My father did publicity for double bubble chewing gum, silly putty, and slinkies when I was a child and so I had more of all of them than any child had any right to.

Thank you, Jane! And I look forward to meeting you at SCBWI later this month.