I attended the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference last week and it was all kinds of wonderful. Not only did I get to spend quality time with my crit group (restaurants, pedicures, and sleepovers, oh my), I got to rub shoulders with agents and editors and learn from an amazing group of authors. I'll leave you with random tidbits that stuck with me from the conference. These are NOT direct quotes, but are just a sampling of the wisdom I learned last week.
|Me and my plum critters with the amazing Carol Lynch Williams|
Regarding first lines...you have to stand out by being good and being yourself. -John Cusick, agent
Write the first line of the next chapter when you're done writing so you don't see a blank page the next day. -Mette Ivie Harrison, author
Write something that can only come from you. Your characters should have such depth that they appear to have lives on their own beyond what is needed for the plot. -Ruth Katcher, editor
Avoid coincidences, make rules and stick to them, and be consistent. -Greg Leitich Smith, author
Take risks. Pursue unexpected opportunities. Publishing doesn't do all the things you think it might. Learn how to put success and failure in it's proper place. -Ann Cannon, author
Writing is about hard work. Setbacks to your writing might not be setbacks at all. You can't know how much someone might need your novel. Keep writing to follow your dream, yes...but somebody, somewhere, someday will need your book to be able to hold on to their dream. -Trent Reedy, author
Reading counts as writing time. Consistency is the key to credibility. -Cynthia Leitich Smith, author
Just don't be jealous, it's as simple as that. Someone's success story has nothing to do with your own. The book and the book deal are two separate things. -Emily Wing Smith, author
The ear is a better editor than the eye. Never use dialogue for back story. -Tim Wynn Jones, author
It's all about the characters! -Alexandra Penfold, editor
Dialogue: puts things in focus, forwards the plot, provides characterization, should be seamless with deliberate word choice. -Ann Dee Ellis, author
I had the chance to spend several hours each morning in a class full of amazing writers critiquing each other's work and getting whipped into writing shape by the wonderful Ann Dee Ellis at the helm. She exuded brilliance in everything she taught, I love her. To celebrate, I'm giving away a signed copy of one of her books, "Everything Is Fine." Just leave a comment to enter. Following my blog or spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter, or rooftop will earn you an extra entry. Just let me know in your comment.
What is some of the best writing advice you've ever received?