This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Saturday, August 23, 2014

SCBWI Summer Conference Day 2

Keynote: Justin Chanda - The State of the State of the Industry
I have been to a number of state of the industry talks but it was worth hearing one given by Justin Chanda. He made us chuckle and out right laugh as he drove home the idea that it is impossible to write to trends because the trends that you need to write for have not become trends yet. Favorite quotes: "The industry follows the readership as they get older, but they also get born." "We are in a cyclical business and trends and undeniable and unpredictable." "Our job is to create great books. Let the trends take care of themselves."

Agents Panel - What Hooks Me
There was a lot of great information shared by the agents on this panel. I wrote down one quote from each agent that explains what they need their first thought to be when reading a manuscript or query in order to request that manuscript.

Sarah Davis - "I'm hooked by ambitious writers."
Steven Malk - "Classic."
Erin Murphy - "Authenticity." 
Alexandra Penfold - "I want to feel."
Rubin Pfeffer - "Potential."
Linda Pratt - "I need somebody on a page."
Laura Rennert - "Character driven page turner."

Keynote: Aaron Becker - Some Adjustments Were Made Along The Way: One Artists Journey
Aaron Becker shared his journey in creating Journey. He talked about the importance of taking risks, recognizing what you need to be happy, and finding SCBWI.

Breakout: Bruce Coville - Plot, Character, and the Emotional Life of a Story
Bruce Coville
Bruce Coville's breakout focused on the intersection between plot and character. "How can you care about what happens if you don't care about who it happens to." Bruce Coville made his point by telling us a story and even jumping up on a care to share some of that story's storytelling energy. According to him, there are two storytelling energies. The male energy is is action, adventure, instant. The female is relationship, reaction, and language. The best book puts their two energies together to make "A good story, well told."

Meeting Regional Attendees
In order to take a conference home with you, it is important to try to find members of your local tribe. On Saturday, the three New England RT members at the conference; Kathy Quimby Johnson, RA Northern Region, Denise Ortakales, Regional IC (Illustrator Coordinator) and me, ARA Critique Group Coordinator, grabbed a spot by the pool to meet some of ours.
Stacy Mozer, Kathy Quimby Johnson, and Denise Ortakeles
We met some members from around New England and also attracted some former New Englanders who are now living other places in the world but who still think of themselves as New Englanders at heart.

Kathy Quimby Johnson talking to New England Members.
We hope we will see them again at local events.

Keynote: Maggie Stiefvater - A Thief & Artist: Stealing Stories from Life
Maggie Stiefvater talked about how to make fantasy what you know by stealing the soul of your character from real people. If she steals the soul well, and adds new details, she creates a new noise. She calls this "Solving for x." The character then becomes better than real, it becomes hers.

Keynote: Megan McDonald - Writer, Wrestler, Stutterer, Spy: Finding Your Voice As A Writer
Megan McDonald's keynote was about finding your splinter. Favorite quotes: "Write the truth of the story and see where it takes you." "Start with the common place and ordinary." "If you listen to your own voice, unknown friends will come and find you."

With all these amazing information under my skin, I left the conference to go and upstairs and write but the activities weren't over yet.

2014 Poolside Gala Tomie DePaola's 80th Birthday Bash - A Night in Old Italy.
Before attend the LA conference, I had no idea how much writers like to party! The theme was A Night in Old Italy and costumes were encouraged.

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