Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cynthia Lord Rules!

This was the first time that our regional SCBWI had a weekend conference instead of the usual one-day jam packed affair. It was terribly well-organized, thanks to our Regional Advisors and their excellent team of volunteers. I am very proud to be part of this vibrant community in the Pacific NW.

Mo Willems entertained us with stories of how he came to write the Pigeon stories. And Arthur Levine spoke about the elements of great books. The local success stories were so inspiring. The common thread among all of them was to keep at it, not giving up. My favorite sessions were craft-oriented and I attended as many as I could.

Two outstanding sessions were both given by a first-time novelist: Cynthia Lord. Yes, the author of Rules, which won a Newbery Honor. Someone in the audience asked whether she knew all this stuff when she was writing her first book. Laughter arose. "No," she said. It's the writing and revising that taught her all these things. For me, the highlight of the conference was listening to her speak.

Here is Cynthia with Peggy King Anderson, my first writing teacher.

Here are some tidbits. I hope you will find them useful and inspiring.

Publication, acknowledgment, awards all make you feel good, give validation. But it's the time in between, when you're working hard, honing your craft, that is most important. -Margaret Chodos Irvine.

Never forget the reason to keep writing. -Royce Buckingham

Know your audience. -Cynthia Lord

Cynthia is a former school teacher and does numerous school visits. If she's presenting anywhere near you, GO! She's a pro. And very nice, too. Here's what some of her young audience had to say about books they like: funny and adventurous, things at school, just about kids.

A book makes a promise. Fulfill it. -Cynthia Lord

Don't be afraid to be the evil author and explore the shadow side. -Cynthia Lord

Agents, editors are superfluous. Write a superlative book. -Mo Willems

Literature is there to reflect reality. -Chris Crutcher

When you have an idea, write it down. -Arthur Levine


Linda D. (sbk) said...

Hi! I didn't get to meet you at the conference, but I did see you go by in the hallway at one point. I was in line to buy a book so I couldn't chase you down and introduce myself. Sorry. I would have loved to meet you. :)

Maybe next time.

~ sbk from the blue board

Angela said...

Thanks for sharing your experience at the conference!

Vijaya said...

Aw, shucks, Linda. I saw Sam in a line but I had to run to the lunch line before all the sandwiches got snapped up ... my actions are controlled very much by the state of my stomach.

Next time, yes!

WordWrangler said...

GREAT stuff. Thanks for sharing, Vijaya. These quotes were especially important to me:

Never forget the reason to keep writing. -Royce Buckingham

A book makes a promise. Fulfill it. -- Cynthia Lord

Thank you for these nuggets. I think I'll put stick them to my computer!!


Ghost Girl said...

This sounds great, Vijaya! I love the snippets of advice--my favorite: "A book makes a promise. Fulfill it."

That is what drives me through the novel. I have to see that promise come to fruition. Thanks for sharing these highlights!