This past weekend I attended the annual fall conference of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). This was my first time attending this conference, and my
Here are some notes from the weekend, punctuated by some of my notebook doodles:
- Frances Gilbert, editor at the Doubleday imprint of Random House, in talking about story
- Draw from life, no matter your style, says art agent Christina Tugeau.
- Authors Mary Quattlebaum and Cynthia Lord both admitted to struggling initially with plot development / story arc. As someone who doesn't walk around with a spring in my step and a story in my heart, this is gratifying to hear. Woo!
- Agent John Cusick of Greenhouse Literary on the best kind of picture book ending: "surprising, yet inevitable."
- This one's not from anything anyone said this weekend, but just from being in the room, where (and this is where I try not to call my fellow conference-goers old and fail miserably) I was among the youngest there. And that's
- Never stop reading!
- Conflict is essential in plot development. There's got to be a problem
- In a well-crafted picture book, both the words and pictures should be essential to the storytelling. Neither should feel superfluous. Each should feel incomplete without the other.
- Agent Brooks Sherman of Fine Print Literary Management found his first picture book client via Twitter.
- There's a trend in illustration right now toward simpler art, with minimal background, less details, subtle beauty. This, I like!
- Cynthia Lord passed around her Newbery Honor plaque and let us all touch it and make a wish. It was delightful.
- Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean
- The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord
- George and Martha by James Marshall (yes, I too can't believe I've never read this one)
- My Name is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry
- The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson
- Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
- Hero's Journey (lots of books by this name... unsure which one was recommended. Maybe Joseph Campbell?)