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Highlights from SCBWI New York

I'm back in the land of big hair and barbecue!  But I must say, the New York conference was off the chain.  THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY got several mentions and even some applause.  WooHoo!  However, I always learn at these conferences.  Check out some of the highlights below:

Friday Critiques:  Just a well thought out and well planned day. 

First, a panel of editors kicked the session off with helpful hints on how to take criticism:
     1)  Listen and repeat for understanding as in "Am I understanding that you find the tone harsh?" 
     2)  Not a lot gets critiqued if you're constantly explaining yourself.

After the critiques, a panel which included my editor advised on revision:
     1)  Just because the story is finished doesn't mean the text is . . . lots more work to do.
     2)  Revision is not copyediting.
     3)  Knowing what your character wants drives the plot.

Saturday Sessions:  Jarret Krosoczka and Jay Asher

Jarret Krosoczka just blew everyone away with his movie about the creative life.  If you haven't seen the short film, Jarret has it posted on his blog http://thejjkblog.blogspot.com   OMG, Tomi DiPaola and Mo Willems are hilarious.

Jay Asher spoke during lunch.  His 12 year journey to tell the story he finally had to tell in THIRTEEN REASONS WHY is awe inspiring -- writing and rejection and a wife who wouldn't let him quit.  Pass the Kleenex.

Sunday Session:  The Agent Panel (Michael Bourret, Alyssa Henkin, Michael Stearns, Edward Necarsulmer)

The panel commented on the current climate in children's book publishing:
     1)  There is still a market for great children's books.
     2)  Write something "superlative."  Tell the best story in the freshest way.
     3)  Get an agent.  They know the industry and are an author's best advocate.  
     * I will add that Michael Bourret is my agent and he's just been fantastic.  His advice has been right on.