Tuesday, June 26, 2012

WIFYR report

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?


F said...

That sounds like a great conference, Ilima! Thank you for putting up the authors' advice as well; it's so nice to hear advice from people who have literally been there and done it.

I'm not sure I could say what the best piece of writing advice I'd ever recieved was - there are far too many! But I'll definitely be coming back to see what everybody else has to say.

Nick Wilford said...

Sounds like you had a great time! Some great quotes there. I like the ones about not being jealous, and leaving yourself a bit of a chapter to work on. Thanks for the giveaway. I think my stepdaughter would enjoy this book. :)

Suzi said...

Lucky you!

I just finished Carol Lynch Williams Glimpse. Haven't read a book in verse for a while. I got a little nervous about the almost 500 pages, but forgot how fast books in verse go.

Really liked it.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Great advice, and I'm so happy you had a great time at the conference! The best advice I've ever received is to do what works for you. Outside of grammar, rules are only good if they work for you and the story you're working on. That, and to write a lot.

Anonymous said...

Best writing advice? "Keep going." I've found that if I don't, then I give up. If I plow through a first draft, I end up with something half decent that I get to tear apart and repiece and stitch together into something VERY good. But I have to "keep going".

Also applicable for life.

I like these tidbits! I think I'll save this post for a "here's a bunch of awesome stuff" post on Friday. Thanks!

Kate Coursey said...

So great to get to know you better! I'm glad everyone had such a great time at WIFYR....I'm already getting pumped for next year :)

Kathryn Purdie said...

Hooray for WIFYR! I love how each person in our crit group gleaned the same information in different ways...and some things I missed altogether! Thanks for posting all these great tips and reminders.

Robin said...

I won your last giveaway, but I'm book greedy, so I'm entering this one too:)

Great writing advise. I really enjoyed Ann Canon's advise. And Ann Dee-WOW


jaybird said...

You look so beautiful in the picture, with the flower in your hair. Very Hawaiian. Love it.

So, all of this great advice and wonderful work-shops sound amazing! One of these days, I want to get my butt to a conference.

The best bit of writing advice I ever received, was from Jane Green, chit lick author of "Jemima J" (one of my favs) she said, "All it takes, is ONE yes. Keep going, until you get it."

So simple, but it stuck with me.

PK HREZO said...

Wow sounds like a great conference! Thanks for the quotes.