Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday, SCBWI Conference, Day 2

Welcome Bloggers !
More to come....

For those of you readers who are wondering what the above note is all about -- Mary Bowman-Kruhm and I were giving a Very Basic Introduction to Blogging at a SCBWI writer's conference this weekend, and planned to have my blog up on the screen as people walked in. BUT. As will most plans of mice and (wo)men, it went a rye.
(okay, you spell it, my spellcheck can't.)
No matter what we tried, the computer projector wouldn't project our computer screen to the large screen. Luckily we had both our computers. We ended up inviting the group to gather around them and look at the small computer screen, instead, as we showed them various types of blogs. Then Mary created someone's new blog on Wordpress and showed off the bells and whistles there. We just winged it.

Day 2 of the Conference only had breakout sessions in the morning. The afternoon was all lectures, ending with the First Page critique by the editors and agents there. (and one author)

Two people from HIGHLIGHTS magazine group, Debra Hess and Kelley Cunningham kicked off the day with "Imagination is Just the Beginning" They discussed what the magazine was looking for and how they handled submissions and took questions from the audience. Yes, the buy all rights. But when they sell those rights to others, like textbooks, they send money to the author. Sales the author could not have gotten themselves.
GEM: We are in the business of nurturing new writers. (and they always need nonfiction.)

The wonderfully funny Carolyn Crimi discussed "Baking Chocolate Cake: All the ingredients You need to Make Your Picture Book Delicious.
GEM: There's a place online where you can find out how many words in your favorite books. (so you can compare the length of your own manuscript.) It's an online store at

Since we presented our own Blogging breakout session next, I didn't get to visit the others. So no GEMs to offer from them.
Our own GEM would be -- YES, you too can blog. It's easy to learn and doesn't have to be every day. Once a week is fine. Why Blog? it gets your name and your books OUT THERE, and you can build platform.


After lunch, Joyce McDonald spoke: "The transformative Power of Fiction: How real-life stories Inform and Shape our own."
This refers to the fact that newspaper stories get her creative brain wondering -- why did that person do that. She writes to find out.
GEM: Her stories all begin with the question, WHY? Then she finds Universal Truths.

Next, editor Louise May from Lee and Low spoke about "Creating Books Featuring Diversity: How Do I Leap In?"
GEM: They no longer publish "Multicultural Books." They publish books "About everyone, For everyone."
Good books with Universal Appeal, authentic to that culture. (good research)

Agent, Elana Roth, helped us discover "The Scoop on High Concept"
GEM: High Concept is commercial -- a story with a premise that any number of character stories could be inserted.

The worst criticism from the First Page panel was, "I waited and waited for the story to START."
Instant reject.

Then came the worst part of the conference -- saying good-bye and driving home.

1 comment:

Mary Bowman-Kruhm said...

Thx, Wendie. You've done a good job providing an overview of a great conference and the gem of each session. Also, I posted our handout, Leap into Blogging, on the regional website