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SCBWI Highlights

Emma Walton Hamilton / Blog  / SCBWI Highlights
SCBWI Highlights

SCBWI Highlights

SCBWI HighlightsI had the pleasure of spending this past Saturday at the SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC.  Wow!  For those of you remotely interested in writing for children, the SCBWI conferences are a must.  The information, networking opportunities and resources are invaluable.

The venerable Lois Lowry gave a superb keynote on finding ideas (during which I suddenly had a brainstorm for a new picture book idea!).  There was a very informative picture book panel led by Jane Yolen, Mark Teague and Patricia Lee Gauch. Jane shared ten words every picture book author must know – lyricism, compression, child centeredness, focus, hook, words, ‘illustratability’, motion, emotion and resolution (thank you, Jane – this gives me weeks worth of blog topics!). Mark spoke about art that has depth, and provokes wonder and a sense of mystery for the reader as to what might be going on beyond the borders of the page.  Patricia talked about “letting go to story,” the miracle of page turns and the dramatic arc as a wave, that must rise and crest and resolve itself.

The breakout sessions with editors, agents and art directors were hugely informative, and provided attendees with rare opportunities for manuscript submissions.  There was much discussion about the opportunities as well as the challenges being brought about by new technology, and there was general agreement that most editors have seen enough manuscripts about dystopian societies, vampires and psychic teens, thank you very much.  Everyone agrees that strong, simple premises, compelling and true characters and beautiful – or witty – writing will always be in demand.  Hilarious keynotes by R.L. Stine and Jules Feiffer rounded out the day’s delights.

Thank you, Lin Oliver, Stephen Mooser and everyone at SCBWI for forty years of unmatched service and support for children’s book authors and illustrators!

Emma Walton Hamilton
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