Saturday, May 14, 2011

SCBWI-- South Dakota!

As a newer writer, I'm working on learning as much as I can to help me improve my personal writing, and know the field. I still have much to learn, and am thankful for all the opportunities!

Today I attended South Dakota's SCBWI conference. I highly recommend checking out your regional and state events. If you are serious about writing as a career, you need to attend.

Here are some of my notes.

Kerry Sparks, Agent

  • You need a really, really good hook AND
  • a short, quick sentence summing up your story.
  • For the Query, be professional. Explain your story in a few paragraphs. Tell a little about yourself. Be yourself. Remember the hook! Thank them for their time.
  • Know the agent you are sending your MS to. Research
  • Agents are looking for something unique. They must love the MS, because they have to believe in what they sell
  • You need to find an agent you trust, you become partners
  • It's OK to send to multiple agents

Chris Rylander, Author
He talked about what not to do:
  • Don't rush the process
  • Don't send an unfinished MS, or query one
  • Don't query if you don't have a MS in hand
  • Make sure you wait before sending it in. Nothing is great after the first draft
What to do:
  • Be obsessed and be persistent, ie: Don't give up, be excited about what you do, and do it!

Tips from the First Pages Critique, very helpful!

  • It needs to make you/editor want to read on...
  • Tension is GOOD
  • Take things one piece at a time, build your story
  • Use time elements and deadlines to create tension
  • Set up goals within your writing
  • Sound can be a good element
  • More conflict sooner!
  • Point of View is key
  • Don't be afraid to write your story 4 different ways
  • Interweave your backstory into the MS
  • Be specific, use nouns and verbs. Remove Adverbs

Emilia Rhodes, Asst. Editor, YA

  • Know the age you are writing for!
  • Know of comparable titles
  • Know your gender
Editors are looking for books that will sell. They use current books and the market to help them decide what to buy.

They love series! Built in audience.

What sells:
  • Realistic fiction
  • Forbidden fruits
  • Paranormal
New Trends:
  • Mermaids
  • Alternate universe
What doesn't sell:
  • Vampires, unless they introduce something new
  • Historical fiction
  • Books geared towards boys (Young Adult)
  • Robots
  • Read what's popular, even if you wouldn't read it normally
  • Connect with authors
  • Subscribe to author/writer newsletters
  • Pay attention to the trends around you, in TV and movies too

1 comment:

  1. It was a fantastic conference! The part about comparison titles was surprising to me, because I've always been so cautious not to try and reinvent something that I've just avoided comparos altogether.