Life – I went to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Conference in New York City a couple weeks ago. Since the conference I've struggled with a flood of writing assignments, plus I got some wicked cold virus that came with its own fever, chills, and sweats. I've finally finished my writing assignments and am starting to feel healthier too. Yay! (PS- I'm taking an excellent online writing course right now.)
The SCBWI Official Conference Blog has good summaries of the entire conference so I'm going to link to it (and a couple other sources) to list my favorite parts:
* Cheryl Klein, an executive editor at Scholastic, gave an excellent hour-long crash course on how to revise your novel. Her blog and plot checklist will give you a good start on revising. Now I want to read her book on revision because the hour went too fast for me.
* Katherine Erskine's speech on how to focus on writing was full of concrete ways to nurture creativity and make sure that turns into actual writing.
* Jennifer Laughran was my favorite agent to speak at the conference. Not only does she know the book world inside and out, she's funny too, and sharp, and she has her own blog.
*I got to meet and talk to my regional advisers –Edie Hemingway and Lois Szymanski– and was struck by not only how truly kind both of them are, but also how much writing and publishing experience they each have.
*I went to the extra evening LGBTQ session as a spur of the moment decision and was glad I went. It was a refreshingly fun and honest session, full of: good writing information, friendly people, and a list of new books I now want to read.
* I was surprised how much I liked Cassandra Clare's speech about forbidden love and how to create satisfying love triangles. It was partly because she used shows like: Buffy, The Vampire Diaries, and Felicity as examples, but I also liked her speech because she made a lot of good points.
Clare explained that to have a real love triangle, as opposed to a love "V", all three parties have to have a relationship and connection with each other. She used the TV show, Felicity, as an example of a love "V" because the two guys Felicity likes– Ben and Noel– have no real relationship or connection to each other. Her example of a true love triangle was from the TV show, The Vampire Diaries. The fact that Damon and Stefan are brothers makes their love triangle with Elena all the more interesting because the audience cares about their relationship as much as they care about Elena and Stefan or Elena and Damon.
After Clare's speech, the SCBWI Co-President Lin Oliver pointed out that if you are writing Middle Grade fiction, you can use Clare's points on love triangles by exchanging the word love or romance for friendship.