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
- 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
They love series! Built in audience.
- Realistic fiction
- Forbidden fruits
- Alternate universe
- Vampires, unless they introduce something new
- Historical fiction
- Books geared towards boys (Young Adult)
- 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