Monday, May 23, 2011

NE SCBWI Conference Report from Mid-list Maggie

I feel remiss not having blogged about the New England SCBWI conference last weekend.  I came home to a flurry of work and never got around to it.  That seems to be my usual style.  I like to mull things over before I write.  Blogging is probably not my ideal format since it was designed for an instant audience.  Spewing words without much thought is not my style -- no matter what my family says.  So, I'll let my colleague Mid-list Maggie take over.

Hey! What a weekend.  Nonstop talking, nonstop listening. Exhausting!  I got to put faces to names, particularly Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser.  They've always been West Coast phantoms - heard but never seen.  Now I seen 'em.
Jane Yolen - terrific - stood in solidarity of all of us mid-listers - junkyard dog types who shed their fluffy puppy personas years ago.  I loved her Big Sagging But -- Notice the spelling!!! -- the but that comes in every rejection letter. She reminded us to "mine the but,' learn from it. Something I often forget to do.

Tomie dePaola - loved him. Favorite line - "Wanted to be a monk, but the silence got to me."  His story of having to copy a pilgrim, Indian and turkey in school probably rang true for every illustrator.  He had a gift early on -- not his talent for drawing - but a gift of hardwired individuality that he would not, could not give up. Most kids start out individuals, but school crams them into matching shapes and it is only the strongest willed, perhaps most annoying kids, that come out still free formed.  Tomi was one of those kids.  What I learned -- In picture books, even for illustrators, "The word comes first."

I sat in on different workshops  - like fantasy world building -- and now have a better appreciation of the different kinds of writing people do.  Creating a bible with all the laws, mores, and customs etc. of your story world seems overwhelming to me.  I can barely handle the rules in this one. 

My one regret was missing the midget wrestling that was going on next door.  Lesson learned - seize every opportunity no matter how tired I am.  I mean, when am I going to be that close to midget wrestling again?? Plus, it might have made a good story. 

That's it for me, Mid-list Maggie. See you at the next conference.

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