Monday, September 15, 2008

SCBWI Washington/Idaho September Conference

The September 13, conference, held in Spokane, was inspiring! Regional Advisor Deby Fredericks, and her assistants Jan St. George and Larry Telles put on a great event and deserve kudos for a job well done.

Ruta Rimas, Editorial Assistant with HarperCollins new imprint, Balzar and Bray, kicked things off with a talk on "Making Your Picture Book Work." She reminded authors that having a "story" means more than what happens in the book, but distilling the story to its core theme. A good lesson for writers in all categories.

Storyforce's own, Claire Rudolf Murphy, spoke about Setting in her talk, "Writing Your World." Claire first asked us to think about the setting where we do our writing every day, and whether or not that setting effectively helps us to have, "more pages at night than you had in the morning." Then she led the attendees through exercises that showed how setting reveals character, theme and plot.

Cherie Winner, who is the science writer for Washington State Magazine and has written 22 non-fiction books for children, spoke about "Finding the Angle" in your non-fiction writing. She instructed participants to pick a topic you love, because the road to publication is long and you need to stay passionate about the material.

Finally, Andrea Brown associate agent, Jamie Weiss Chilton, helped us understand how an agent benefits a writer's career. She noted that when an author gets into a sticky situation with an editor, the agent can play the bad cop. When selecting clients, she said she's not a stickler for mistakes in the format of a submission. However when a writer doesn't follow guidelines she sees a red flag in terms of how that author will work with an editor.

A Very Useful Conference! Thank you SCBWI Washington/Idaho!

-- cross posted to Under the Covers...

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