SCBWI Summer Conference Recap, Part 3

Hello and welcome to part three of my SCBWI Summer Conference recap. Here are parts one and two, in case you missed them.

From Judy Blume’s Conversation with Lin Oliver:



Hearing Judy Blume speak about writing was the ultimate pinch-me moment of this conference. She was a special surprise guest speaker this year. From the reaction of the 1300+ authors/illustrators in the audience, you’d think we’d all reverted back to pre-teens at a boy band concert. I don’t know about the others in attendance, but I kept slipping into this quasi-dream-sequence space where this voice in my head whispered, “That’s really her. That’s Judy Blume. That woman shaped part of your childhood. Her words became part of who you are today.” Let me just say, she was beautiful and elegant and eloquent and it was truly a delight to listen to her. Thank you, SCBWI, for inviting her to speak.

Through the fangirl haze, I managed to learn from what she shared. And I’ll share some of the highlights here with you.

  • Children are the same as they were back when; technology may change, but people don’t change.
  • Getting a draft done all the way through before editing is how she prefers to work.
  • She’s a terrible first drafter, but loves revising.
  • When she starts a story, she knows where to start and knows where it will end, but she knows nothing in between.
  • It’s best to start a story on the day when something different happens.
  • The stuff that’s going to reach your readers is the stuff that comes from deep inside.
  • Writers must identify with their audience if they want the work to connect.
  • When she was rejected, she’d say, “They may not have liked that one, but wait until they see what I’m writing now.” That kept her going.
  • Everyone needs someone to support them.
  • Get the censor off your shoulder when you write.
  • Write the way you think it should be and figure it out later.

From Michel Kripalani’s “From Book to E-Book App: A Case Study”:

Michel of Oceanhouse Media shared so much info in this breakout session my hand cramped. I went into the breakout expecting it to be an hour-long commercial for his company, and was so grateful when it wasn’t. Here is some of the advice Michel offered to those considering getting into the e-book app market:

  • Be prepared to enter a competitive, fast-moving industry
  • The experience of your team is critical
  • Understand exactly what you’re trying to accomplish before investing
  • Understand pricing models and how they work
  • Consider all options for your digital rights
  • Understand all of the platforms available
  • Be prepared to think outside the box
  • Remember the old rules do not apply

From Jon Scieszka’s “The Myriad of Possibilities of Form, Style and Genre”:

If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, go. He’s hilarious, but also insightful. In this keynote, he walked us through his history as a writer, starting waaaay back when he was a kid. He shared with us all of the different forms his work has taken (books, comics, etc.). I was laughing and enjoying his storytelling so much, I didn’t take a ton of notes, but I did jot down these gems:

  • The one thing he learned in his MFA program was not to listen to people.
  • When he set out to write his first book, he brought to it everything he loved.
  • He shaped his career on the things he loves (comics, history, etc.).
  • Preschoolers are like Alzheimer’s patients on acid; to them everything is new and freaky.
  • You need to love the book you’re writing because you’re going to be with it a long time.

More recapping next week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 🙂