I'm on an airplane flying to Penland, North Carolina for a two week class taught by book artist Laura Wait. I'll be sharing photos from Penland next week. But for now, I'm still thinking about the LA SCBWI children's book conference.
I took notes from three different workshops about the importance of creating a story on the subject that is closest to your heart. Here are some of my notes:
Arthur Levine, Publisher of Arthur A. Levine Books:
He'd like to change the common phrase, "Write about what you know" into "write about you."
What is YOUR story?
Bryan Collier, illustrator and author and Laura Godwin, Vice President and Publisher of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers:
How do you get to your core? What do you know? Bryan's editor, Laura asked him this when he was just getting started with children's books.
But as Bryan said,"It's too big of a question." It's hard to narrow everything down and and find the story in it. You have to keep writing, drawing, and refining.
Jon Klassen, illustrator and author, and Steven Malk, Agent with Writers House:
Find out what you like and build it a story.
I've been reworking my story, Home about how the Earth is shared by all people, plants, and animals. It's going to be so much better! All along I've felt this is the book I need to make. Now I am encouraged to stick with it through however many incarnations it may take.
In my notebook below Arthur Levine's question, "What is YOUR story?" I wrote about my childhood influences. Both of my parents are scientists. My father is a professor of biology and zoology, and an environmentalist. When I was young, he did a lot of work on acid rain and mine waste products. I knew all about global warming before I started grade school in the 1970's.
My mother is a computer scientist but her big impact on me was her strong belief that all people should be treated equally.
And, well, I grew up in Wyoming. That's why I feel connected to the land. I'm a small town girl from a big wide-open landscape.
What is YOUR story?
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