Three speakers made a huge impression on me at the SCBWI Los Angeles conference. First there was Ann Angel, non fiction writer extraordinaire who spoke about finding the narrative voice within nonfiction. Ann suggested telling your nonfiction “story” as if you are on the character’s shoulder and to show the reader how the story is relevant to their life.
Her newest book, Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing, recently won a Crystal Kite award.
I also had the pleasure of sitting in on a workshop by Diane Muldrow about the Pacing of a Picture Book. Diane is not only the editor for Golden Books; she is also an author as well!
The best piece of advice she gave was to include art directions in a picture book manuscript. This goes against the conventional wisdom of leaving it up to the illustrator, but with the word counts of picture books getting smaller and smaller by the day, the new format for manuscripts makes sense.
And finally, the highlight of the conference for me was Richard Peck. He is not only a legend in young adult and children’s literature; he is also one of the most kind and generous of men. His speech was inspiring, funny and poignant. Here are a few sound bites.
On the important of reading widely:
“We must be able to recognize the past as it will come around again.”
“A writer must banish herself from the page.”
On the importance of literature for young people:
“Unless you find yourself on the page, you will go looking for yourself in all the wrong places.”
Richard has a new book coming out this October titled Secrets at Sea and will be visiting Houston at the end of October 2011. Don’t miss him!