"California Dreamin"*

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on August 28, 2010 in Conferences, Writing |

As promised here are some nuggets of wisdom from the SCBWI L.A. conference. They are pretty much all writing related, but many of them have universal wisdom as well.

M.T. Anderson:

  • Books take us away from home, so we can actually see our home.
  • Literature restores a sense of unknown to what we already know.
  • Understanding the past is just as much about forging ahead to the future.

Gordon Korman:

  • What do you use more as an adult? Your sense of humor or your ability to recognize foreshadowing.
  • Kids are more subtle than you think they are. It’s not that stuff is going over their heads; it’s just the stuff we think is important, they don’t care about.
  • Kids are not an exotic subspecies. When we are writing for kids, we are writing for ourselves.

E.B. Lewis:

  • We spend so much time scratching to get some wealth that we miss out true wealth: our children.
  • Sometimes we don’t scratch deep enough to find the true value of our kids. It’s more valuable than gold. We scratch them too deep sometimes and destroy our children.
  • As artists, we need to fill ourselves up to flowing and give it all back.

Rachel Vail:

  • Trick to being a good listener is to actually listen.
  • Spying is key to being a writer. Put on your headphones in a public place, but don’t really listen to music.
  • How can two people in same conversation have such different experiences of what happens?
  • When I get stuck, I make some tea and force myself to remember.

Gail Carson Levine:

  • When you make a list, no idea is stupid.
  • The magic and joy of being a writer is learning about yourself in your writing.

Carolyn Mackler:

  • By standing out, you put yourself out there for a fall.
  • Be proud of what you wish for and stand by it, even if it’s harder than you expected.

Gennifer Choldenko:

  • Human beings need stories; we always have and we always will.
  • Harness the energy of your dreams.
  • Give yourself the right to take risks; you’re not making real risks if you haven’t risked and failed.

Paul Fleischman:

  • Research should be like slip; it should be there but never show.
  • Laughter gives you a sense of control.
  • There’s now way around but through–that’s the writing life.

There’s not much left to say after reading over what these heavy-hitters in the kidlit world had to say, so I’ll leave you with my own ridiculous mid-conference quotation: “I just don’t think I can listen to one more stranger and pretend to care about they’re saying.”

*The Mamas & the Papas

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