Monday, February 18, 2013

San Francisco Writer's Conference Wrap-Up

Wow. While nothing beats SCBWI's International conferences for the sheer volume of resources available specifically to aspiring YA authors, and obviously I am still smitten with the Big Sur Writing Retreat (where the four of us met), the San Francisco Writer's Conference should not be overlooked -- even if it does not exclusively cater to YA.

Having just attended (as in it ended today so please forgive mistakes as I'm still in conference high/brain-fog), here are a few of my favorite YA applicable moments:

*The R.L. Stine (keynote speaker and also ran a writing workshop) was hilarious. He talked about how he never planned on being a scary writer; he had always been a funny writer (still is a very funny writer. I was cracking up). My takeaway from that was that we should always be open to new approaches, and to listen carefully when given advice, suggestions, or opportunity. Each project is a way to grow. Stine also said that in his writing process he begins with a great title and then works from there, but that when he meets with other great writers, they each have their own methods so there is no universal approach.

*Annette Pollert from Simon and Schuster is adorable/very approachable. She said that "we need great literature for adults, but I believe we need it even more for our kids." As a teacher, I couldn't agree more.

*On one of the YA panels (there seems to be a whole track devoted to YA and a several agents/editors there who specialize in YA), the writers seemed to concur that everyone usually has to pay his/her dues. Each shared stories of a lot of rejection either in getting an agent, getting an editor, or both.

*I heard from a few people that most houses are full of New Adult right now until they see if their first ones work.

*Editor Jill Schwartzman reminded us to 1. Do your research 2. Be prepared  3. Be nice.

*It seemed that most editors at big houses tended to be working on 8-12 books a year.

*Robert Dugoni said that you don't need to make your characters likable, but you do have to let the reader know "what is their wound?"

*Meg Waite Clayton reminded us that "questions do not always need to be answered. What isn't said is often more interesting than what is."

*Keynote Anne Perry emotionally resonated with the whole ballroom when she talked about how we don't need someone to know what we've been through, we need someone to say "I will not leave you."

*Agents and editors are really cool human beings (not a new take-away, but I was definitely reminded). Not only are they pretty brilliant (some shared the process of landing a job at a good agency/house and the competition is fierce), but every one I talked to was genuinely interested in welcoming new writers, and any feedback they give is given with great respect to the author. They are also people, and I loved just chatting with them about the days of Bop magazine, reading R.L. Stine books with a flashlight, and swapping embarrassing meet-the-big-name-author moments.

Love that the conference took place in SF on Valentines Day
so I could attend the city's legendary mega-pillow fight.
Great way to get pumped up for the conference to begin. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment