So I finally made it to Friday and ended up having a wonderfully productive night, revising the new chapter 1 which I love, and writing a brand new chapter two, the reincarnated version of the crack chapter that I hated. Right now its all love for me and the book:-)
The only downfall...I was writing until 1am (which is GREAT) except I needed to wake up the next morning at 6am (that is NOT GREAT).
But I did it (yawningly).
Somehow I made it out the door in time to drive to Exton, PA for the Fall Philly SCBWI Conference. And I would have been there exactly on time at 8:15 except that my mapquest directions confused me into going North on my route's exit instead of South. I got there a little bit late....but still on time, because the program hadn't begun yet. Thankfully SCBWI events seem to run on Frankie time also.
I met up with my advisor and Joanne! I was so excited to see her and catch up. We had a few presentations from authors, editors and agents. Nothing was that new or informative I thought, and the director spent half the day complaining about how awful it was to direct this conference and how someone else needed to take over for her. That was a little bit strange I thought. However there was a talk after lunch by Lin Oliver which was golden.
Lin was one of the co-founders of SCBWI and she told us the story of how the organization came together which was hilarious and bascially two people deciding to throw a writers conference on a whim without having any idea of what they were doing at all.
She also offered a bunch of writing tips she collected from various children's author's over the years. Here, I will share them with you:-)
1. From Richard Peck: For every book you write, read 1,000. WOW is this even possible? Later on in the day Nadia Cornier from Firebrand Literary Agency said something similar, except she said to read 100 books which is far more doable. But basically, this is about reading books like a writer, analyzing your genre, trying to understand why a writer made certain decisions in their story telling and how it could have been done better.
2. Jack Gantos: Keep a journal or idea book with you at all times (omg, who doesn't do this?)
3. Judy Blume: Write the kind of book you want to read. (This is great advice, and it seems simple, but I think a lot of people try and write the book they think they should write rather than what they really want to. Another great way of saying you should stay true to yourself.
4.Paula Danziger: This one was pretty priceless. Create a character you love, think about what s/he wants most in the world, decide what's keeping them from getting it, force them to make tough and moral choices. The tougher the choice the more integrity the book has. This is very similar to a principle I try to live by in my writing by Linda Sue Park, which is that every scene in the book should bring the character either closer or further away from their goal. This is brilliantly done in A Single Shard, one of my favorite books.
5.Bruce Coville: Follow your wierdness, play around with it and take big chances.
6. Sid Fleischman says to write in scenes, so in every single setting or scene, something new happens. I think I try and do this, not sure if I succeed, but it's a good thing to keep in mind.
7. Norma Fox Mazer: She actually writes with her eyes shut. All I could think of when I heard this one was the guidance counselor in 10 Things I Hate About You, writing her smutty romance novels in between seeing students. It cracked me up, but then again, this might be great advice. Because closing your eyes brings you more into the story and you can't obsess over the structure of a sentence since you can't see it. I'm going to try this one.
8. Richard Peck: The first chapter of your book is your last chapter in disguise. When a book has been done well, this is SO true!
9. Sid Fleischman: Make sure the plot is clear (this one has a bit of a duh factor involved, but I think sometimes its easy to overconfuse your plot).
10. Susan Petron: Begin on the day that is different (this is priceless advice, and again should be obvious).
11. Sid Fleischman: In writing, nothing is wasted but the paper. This is a good thing to remember, because sometimes it can feel unproductive to write badly, or write things you won't use, but all writing is practice and makes you better. It's all worth something even if it ends up in the trash.
12. Bruce Coville: Take a lot of showers (haha). He means to do something that allows you to clear your mind, and not stress over your writing. That's when the good ideas come:-)
13. Richard Peck: Eaves drop. The best writers are the best listeners. Yep!
14. Jane Yolen: Don't talk down to anyone.
15. I don't know who said this...but don't write from childhood recollected, but from childhood revisited. Easy to do for me, since I don't feel like I'm too far away from my childhood.
16. Tomie de Paolo: You have to have courage to stay with your voice and your vision. Another be true to yourself, write what you like, but what's true for you. Lin kept talking about how she wanted to write beautiful transcendent things, but she could only do comedy. Her voice is a comedic one and she is one of the funniest speakers I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.
17. Claim your profession. This is important. Too many writers say "Oh I want to be a writer." But the truth is, if you write, you're a writer. it doesn't matter if you're published or have any idea what you're doing. If you put things on paper you are a writer. So...I am a writer.
18. This was from Lin, and I agree with it, though it sounded a little too much like a shameless plug for SCBWI events in her delivery. But basically, you shoul spend time with other writers.
So that was the conference. I got to say hi to Nadia Cornier who actually has critiqued some of my manuscript though I won't get to see what she said until probably next week. That should be interesting.
After catching up some more with Joanne, I raced back home, made a vegan chocolate cake and then drove over to Jen's for a Scottish reunion dinner which was a blast. I wish I could have stayed all night, but I was so tired and had to get up for work this morning. Working on Sunday mornings is the one downfall of my job.
And then after work, the critique group and I had an extended session which was really helpful. I'm so glad I get to bounce ideas around with them and I love reading their stories.
Afterwards I finally took a nap which I desperately needed. And now its back to work.
OOoh yeah, the vegan shoes are here! And I plan to post the vegan shoe fashion show soon. The only problem is there is something about shoes that beg for pictures outside, (you know, the place where you are supposed to wear them) and it's been raining non-stop all weekend. So hopefully I will have some pics tomorrow. The vegan boots are all great, I'm a little addicted now that I finally realized that with vegan shoes, I can have my vegan cake and eat it too!