Tuesday, February 12, 2008

SCBWI Winter Conference

I was told I need to start blogging more. Yes I admit, I have been really, really bad about it. I recently attended my 5th SCBWI conference, and again, I learned some new things. There were some terrific and inspiring keynotes; Richard Peck( A Year Down Yonder), Susan Patron (Higher Power of Lucky) and David Weisner (Tuesday, Flotsam) stood out for me. It was terrific to see David's process on how he created Flotsam.

One of the things I found interesting at this conference was all the talk about what Publishers are looking for. I could feel the audience, including myself, going over all the manuscripts in their heads, asking "do I have something that is like that?" "Perhaps I can adjust that ms to meet that need?" "Maybe I should write a biography piece?" "Maybe my art should be more like that?". This bothered me, because I know, deep down, that not of it matters. If you are working from your soul, writing and illustrating the things that you love to write and illustrate, good things will happen. Do you really think David Weisner asks himself "I wonder what kind of book will sell well?" Do you think Brian Selznick made Hugo Cabret because he saw a niche that needed to be filled? Do you think Susan Patron used the word "scrotum" because she thought the publicity would sell more books? NO. You have to write and illustrate the things you love. Don't worry about the rest. Get lost in your process, worry about the rest when your done. Otherwise your chasing a moving, and fickle target.

On another note, I was really happy for a fellow SCBWI'er, Jim Carol, who won the Portfolio Award. His work is beautiful, AND he is a great guy. I wish him the best of luck getting published.

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