Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SCBWI LA Reflections, Part 3- Buzz Words, Quotes, Key Points, and What Agents are Looking for!

My vocabulary list has grown since the SCBWI conference in LA. I thought I'd share it with you since you'll probably be hearing a lot of these words in the industry. 

SUBVERSIVE- Keynote speaker Jon Sciezka, author of Cowboy & Octopus, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and Stinky Cheese Man, talked about stories that broke all the rules. His picture books are perfect examples of these.

"We have a bold tradition of being experimental in our books because we have the most bold and experimental readers." ~Mac Barnett

PALIMPSEST- Kirby Larson, author of Whispers of the Past, talked about ideas and how many of them are reused to make something new.

METAFICTION- Mac Barnett, author of Extra Yarn, talked about writing a book with new rules.  He defines metafiction as "a book that talks about it being a book." like his own Chloe and the Lion.

TRANSMEDIA- Julie Hedlund and Sarah Towle talked about publishing across multiple formats (print, digital, and film) and how a story is reworked and adapted to each form resulting in the creation of a story world. A good example of this is The Fantastic Flying Books by Moriss Lessmore

GENRE BREAKERS- Julie Hedlund, author of A Group is a Troop of Monkeys and A Shiver of Sharks, mentions that books in app form offers possibilities for subversive stories or genre breakers, which is the crossing over of two or more styles- think mash-up of genres.

Key Points
The SCBWI conference in LA was loaded with fabulous workshops. Here are 2 of my favorite speakers and the message that resonated with me.

From Richard Peck, award-winning author:  You are Only as Good as Your Opening Line- Find something that interest your reader and put it in your first line.

From Andrea Pinkney, V.P., Executive Editor at Scholastics and award-winning author: Think about your unique talent. Explore new genres. Find your twinkle! There could be more interesting stories that may or may not come out of you if you hadn't explored other topics or genre.

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong" ~Joseph Chilton Pierce

What agents are seeking
Now, what you've all been waiting for! There is a consensus among agents and editors as to what manuscripts they are seeking. Here is their list:
  • a story that they connect strongly enough on a personal level
  • a story that they feel passionate about
  • a sorry that touches the emotional core
  • a story with a great concept and great writing!

Sorry to disappoint you, but that's all I've got out of them. The last bullet says it all.

Well that's it for my SCBWI LA reflections. There was a lot of sitting, listening, and note-taking. But as they say, work hard and play hard. Writers sure know how to party!
The faces of these partiers have been disguised to protect their identity.

Overall, I had a blast! I am so glad I saved up for this event. The SCBWI is such a supportive and inspiring group. I am happy to be a children's writer.

If you missed my other SCBWI Reflections, here they are:
Part 1- Coming Home to Reality
Part 2- Goals and Statistics


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I know you'll get to go someday.

  2. I know teachers and librarians like metafiction as a learning tool, but I was surprised when my 3 year old wanted to read Chloe and the Lion over and over again. I found it tricky as a read aloud - it felt like reading a comic book. But hey, if the kids love it...

    1. That's interesting Lauri. I never thought about how it reads as a read-aloud. But I have a feeling you pulled that off very well. I think it is fun because it's like role-playing/acting which, as you said, kids love.

  3. I predict we're going to be riding a wave of metafiction for a few years!



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