I attended the LA SCBWI 2014 conference last week and it was inspirational and informational. And those two things don’t suck. It’s impossible to explain my thrill of being in the same room as Judy Blume and hear her speak. To listen to Meg Rosoff‘s funny accent and be inspired. How I’m 100% sure Lin Oliver is the coolest woman in the US. It was crazy-fabulous to be in a room with Stephen Chbosky and Jay Asher as they presented Mystery and Grit how to Write a True Page Turner. How I got to practice my pitch with Linda Pratt and Sarah Davies and see their eyes sparkle as they get what I was saying and were curious about my book. There was Lisa Yee and Peepy and how they captivated a room and got Jay Asher to walk down the center of said room, pretending to cry and stand in a corner. Not to mention that I got to see old friends make new ones and party with Ellen Hopkins! I’m going to end this part by saying it was overwhelming and worth every second. I can’t possibly name drop every author I met or heard, it’s up to you to attend next year.
Here’s a practical bit.
On Monday, August 4, 2014 I attended Emma Dryden’s Robust Revision intensive. I took an editing workshop with her in the past, so I knew I was in for the goods. Only this time, I was three drafts into my novel instead of one and I had the opportunity to hear her with new ears and insights.
My favorite exercise by far was this one. Ready?…
If you’re feeling stuck in a scene and need a fresh perspective rewrite the scene from a sleazy tabloid reporter’s perspective. I did this with my first chapter and it was so much fun.
Here is my spontaneous tabloid reporter, flaws and all, that I wrote in the room:
Here at 53 Shepard Drive the mother of Mary Reynolds, the 18-year-old killed last night in an alleged accident, requests vodka and privacy.
Anjulie, Mary’s little sister, started a shrine with a picture she drew of the two of them and her stuffed otter- a gift and nickname given to her by the deceased.
Investigators are looking into how the 18-year-old got her fake ID and if alcohol played a role in her death. An autopsy was ordered by the courts and the 17-year-old girl who allegedly killed Mary is under observation in a mental facility.
What will become of Club X is still unknown but serving minors is illegal and I’m sure the Reynold’s family ought to sue them for all they can get.
This exercise was so fun and freeing. Emma’s tip after hearing what a few of us wrote- the excitement and energy that we felt in doing the exercise should exist in the chapter itself.