I went to New York a few days early to get over the jet-lag before the conference and to check out the city. This would have all been fantastic if I hadn’t been fighting off a bug of some sort prior to leaving for the Big Apple.
I kept myself pumped up on vitamin C, zinc and a bit of alcohol for good measure. Then The Bug won.
Keynotes and illustrator intensive
- Have a compelling story to tell – even if it’s a simple book (e.g. her book Green is more than just about color).
- Think about the use of color, texture and fonts to help tell your story.
- Use repetitive illustrated elements to show how a character gets bigger or smaller (e.g. her main character in Bully; the fence remains the same size, but Bully gets bigger).
I participated in the illustrators intensive: Generating a picture book story. We had to write and story-board a picture book. We based our story on an illustration that we had brought to this workshop. I’m not a writer by default, so this was a great learning experience for me. I used one of my Puss n’ Boots illustrations. The story took on a completely different theme in this exercise. The story was now all about a cheese-obsessed mouse who made the mistake of stealing a bite from his arch enemy The Cat. Pan to a big chase scene and kerfuffle…
- The best ideas come when you don’t allow yourself to filter things. That is, just create. Leave the left brain stuff for later.
- Nothing motivates better than an absolute deadline (2 hours in this case).
- If you don’t let fear get in the way, you will be amazed at what you can do in a short amount of time.
Conference keynote speaker highlights
- Editor’s panel: It’s a great time to be in children’s books – sales are soaring.
- Hervé Tullet: Kids need new books, new ideas. My favourite word is “Ahhh!” If I can elicit that word from children, I am very happy.
- Kwame Alexander: Don’t let other people’s “No” define your “Yes!!” The Crossover was rejected 20 times by publishers.
- Jennifer Laughran: The best queries are like good skirts: they are short enough to be compelling, and long enough to cover everything important.
- Laura Vaccaro Seeger: Sometimes a problem can make something so much better once you find a solution.
- Margaret Raymo: Don’t try to follow what’s hot or popular now. Follow your own muse.
- Anthony Horowitz: The only difference between a successful writer and an unsuccessful writer is that the unsuccessful writer gives up.
- Henry Winkler: We must teach our children where they are great, not where they must go
For further highlights on this conference, search Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for “#NY15SCBWI”. You can also download the Guidebook app to read everything in one repository. I would highly recommend this conference. It is a great learning and networking experience.
If you liked this blog post, you may also like:
How was your NY15SCBWI conference experience? Please leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you.