Howdy and Happy Friday! Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Northern Ohio SCBWI 13th conference, aptly titled "The Magic of 13." My home SCBWI is Central/Southern Ohio, but the literary line-up/sessions drew me to Cleveland: Denise Fleming, Miranda Paul, Shutta Crum, and Nikki Garcia, Loraine Joyner, Kendra Levin and MORE.
First Pages Panel: Michele Houts, Liz Coley, Marie Lamba, Nikki Garcia
Round-up of Rootin-Tootin' Advice and Info
Mary Kay Carson, author: No Fake Stuff! Researching, Writing, and Publishing Today's Nonfiction intensive:
- What can a book do that the internet can not? Re-examine the format of a traditional book and how that can affect your story, your format.
- Ages 8-12 is too big of a spread when pitching. Instead indicate grade range this way: "upper elementary, lower elementary, middle-grade audience."
- "The Nonfiction Family Tree" is a new way of breaking down sub-genres within nonfiction created by Melissa Stewart & the Uncommon Core
- Time and effort are important in a writer's life. If you do nothing ELSE but write, it will take 5 years to have the 10,000 hours you need to learn your craft.
- Think of the publishing business as a for-profit endeavor and a collaborative effort.
- Lucky me, again! My agent & roommate for the weekend connected, too. If you can spend a chunk of time with your agent, it is a true gift.
- Jodell, pacing queen, put Ohio writers through their own paces. We examined first pages, how the story looks on the page, poetry, prosody, and pauses. I always learn something new when Jodell speaks.
- And, super lucky folks can get connected with Nikki Garcia, assistant editor at little Brown Books for Young Readers, even if you weren't in Ohio. Check out KidLit College class "Begin with a Bang," October 24 @ 3 PM CST. Nikki will be doing editorial critiques.
Kendra Levi, Senior Editor, Viking's Children's Books:
- "The Heroe's Journey" is the writer's journey. She recommend's Christopher Vogler's book, THE WRITER'S JOURNEY.
- Kendra has a great guide imagery exercise for writers here. It does cost a mere $6.99. In her character motivation session, attendees were wowed by the wealth of information they could get about the main character from this exercise.
- In a second exercise we wrote a letter FROM our main character to us in which the MC revealed a secret. Again, "wowsers." I had no idea my character wanted me to do a certain something!
Miranda signs stacks of books at Indian Trail Elementary Author Visit pre-conference
Miranda Paul, Author
- We all know about revision, but Miranda espouses "The Pre-Revision Equation" for writers to ascertain if a manuscript has legs as a full-blown story. Here are a few of her steps.
- Is this a story I am passionate about and am I qualified to write it?
- Have you received positive feedback on this ms? Have others expressed interest in it or asked you, "Hey, what ever happened to ________?"(insert ms name.)
- Can you think of other comp titles that are similar in style and/or subject, but not too similar or dissimilar for a publishing house you target?
The Magic of 13, SCBWI Northern Ohio Conference was indeed magical and I hope you lived vicariously through my rocking round-up, pardoners. Yee-haw!