Thursday, January 21, 2010

SCBWI FL Conference Wrap Up!

Before I start, if you haven't attended a writing conference, find a way to do it. It is such an amazing experience, and you learn so much. It's worth the registration fee just to be around other serious writers and to be able to talk about writing with people who get it. If you're in FL or would like to come here :) the summer workshop is scheduled for June 4 & 5 at Disney.

Thursday night, there was a pre-conference book signing, which was when I got the books for my giveaway signed. If you haven't entered, GO ENTER!

I was going to go through day by day, but I think that will take too long. LOL. I'm just going to list the takeaway quotes (paraphrased) that stuck with me enough that I wrote them down. There is just no way to capture the spirit of a writing conference in words (haha). It's like inspiration and encouragement float in the air, and you breathe them in every moment. Anyway, here are the important notes I wrote down.

Richard Peck: I never wrote a word of fiction before I was 37 years old.

Kathleen Duey: Those amazing debut books (S. Meyer, J.K. Rowling) are a fluke. Deciding to do that is like deciding to be struck by lightning and working toward that.

Kathleen Duey: Don't ask what should happen next in your story. Ask yourself what your protagonist would do next.

Richard Peck (via Kathleen Duey): Take yourself out of your manuscript.

Kathleen Duey: Raise the climax by making more subtle what precedes it.

Kathleen Duey: Give yourself cues for your work: workspace, music, food/drink, smells, and change them if you are working on two projects to help move between projects.

Kathleen Duey: Anyone can be a great critiquer if you have them use the BCD method - mark in the ms where they are Bored, Confused, or Don't believe it.

Kathleen Duey: The only rule is there are no rules.

Kathleen Duey: You don't have to start with a bang. You have to start with a reason to turn the page.

Kathleen Duey: Talk to strangers. (when and where it is safe to do so)

Kathleen Duey: When you're having trouble with your character, sit down and type an interview. Not a set of questions, but a conversation, like you're talking to a child (your mc) you haven't met.

Kathleen Duey: When you have a great writing day, figure out why and do that again.

Kathleen Duey: Gag your inner parent.

Kathleen Duey: Don't let your characters choose between something easy and something hard (that's boring - give them a difficult choice).

Richard Peck: Humor is anger that went to finishing school.

Richard Peck: There never was a writer who was not a reader.

Jill Santapolo: Inject emotion organically with: actions, word choice and syntax, objective correlative (put emotion to an object - winter tree looks dead to someone facing hardship, etc. [explanation and example are mine]), and dialogue.

Alexandra Flinn: Write what you're on fire about.

Kathleen Duey: To write a good synopsis, don't name anyone but the MC. It's too easy to go on a tangent if you focus on anyone else.

Kathleen Duey: On where to start your story: It's like picking up a puppy. In front of the middle, but not too far.

Kathleen Duey: On revision: Before revising, sit down and recall your reason for writing the story - the spark. Write it down and post it somewhere. Revise to enhance that.

You may notice that most of those are from Kathleen Duey. Yes. She is absolutely amazing. I have never been more inspired by a person in my life. If you ever have a chance to hear her speak, DO IT. (Oh, and she's coming back to FL in June...just sayin').

So, those are the takeaways I wrote down. If I can figure out a way to coherently write down more of the experience, I will. I will also point you to some other blogs with wrap-ups, since different people may have honed in on different points. Here's one: Mindy Alyse Weiss.

I will try to post pictures this weekend, and I am expecting my turn with the ARC of Timekeeper's Moon by Joni Sensel, so look for my review of that.

Larissa :)


  1. Thanks for all of these--I love the gag your inner parent. It made me smile because it's so true. It sounds like you had an amazing experience at the conference. Can't wait to do the same!

  2. Thanks for sharing. A writer's conference at Disney? I can't imagine anything more fun.

  3. Lisa & Laura - You will LOVE it. It is a bit addicting...:)

    Laura - I know! I can hear the convos now:

    Writer: Hey, spouse! We should totally take our family on a vacation to Disney World!

    Spouse: Hmm...I guess I could take time off. When would we go?

    Writer: I hear it's great at the beginning of June...

  4. Thanks for sharing the recap. FLA SCBWI puts on some good conferences. I hate that I missed this one.

    Need to see what they have on tap later this year.

  5. Good post. Thanks for sharing. We had Richard Peck at our conference last year. Everyone loved him. After listening to your comments about Kathleen Duey, I'll have to consider talking with her about joining us in NJ. Do you know where she lives?

    NJ SCBWI Regional Advisor

  6. Hi Karen! We're hoping to schedule a BBers dinner for June...maybe you can come then?

    Hi Kathy! She lives in CA. She said there is email info on her website. It can't hurt to ask, and she is truly amazing.

  7. You and I have a lot of the same take aways. :) I have to get working on my similar blog post. Great job on yours!

  8. Kathleen Duey was an amazing speaker, very inspirational.

    I think you were sitting a table over from me, but I wasn't sure if it was you.

  9. KD is excellent. I especially LOVE this quote -

    Kathleen Duey: Don't ask what should happen next in your story. Ask yourself what your protagonist would do next.

    Will have to put that up somewhere. I really wanted to go to the conference this year, but couldn't swing it. Thanks for sharing your quotes!

  10. Sounds awesome! Thanks for the notes. Almost as good as going.

  11. Thanks for sharing these - I'm printing them up.

  12. What a great post! I especially like the BCD method.

  13. Hey Larissa,

    I've seen you "around" at some of the same blogs I visit, so I wanted to pop in finally and say hi! Turns out we're practically neighbors (well, Floridians anyways!) and I was at the SCBWI conference too! Amazing, right? Love your blog!