MT Anderson (Feed, Octavian Nothing): In his keynote, MT Anderson told us to embrace our eccentricities. I loved that!
Later I attended his breakout session about experimental fiction. He showed us all the techniques used in One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss (oh, can he read a bedtime story!). He warned that experimental techniques—like footnotes in fiction—can be trying for readers in long novels, but used every now and then can be really effective. I'm excited to add some more adventurous touches to my own writing.
Jennifer Hunt (Editor, Little Brown): Jennifer said: Be smart about what kids like. Read the best books in your genre, but also study media outside of books—like TV shows (and she mentioned my favorite: Friday Night Lights--yes!). She also talked about developing a personal work philosophy that will help you strive toward excellence, telling the audience to, “Challenge yourself to develop your full potential.”
Gordon Korman (Pop, 39 Clues): He told us to find out what’s cool about a subject—picture a bored 11 year old asking, “Do I care about this?” He also advised us to try a lot of different stuff. I love that advice, because if I hadn't tried writing lots of different things I'd still be writing bad picture books.
Carolyn Mackler (The Earth, My Butt, & Other Big Round Things): She talked about how thorough research—interviewing teens, writing exercises, finding unique details—helps her create characters unlike any others. We did a fun writing exercise about what our character has hidden in his or her underwear drawer. Try it--you might be surprised!
Later Carolyn gave a wonderful keynote address, talking about how reading and writing helped her keep her sense of self in tact during tough school years. She described her journey as a writer, how some books came easy, others not so much, but “words will always ebb and flow." Regarding banned books, she told us that the worry is that some books will never be written, never read. I felt really inspired to write after listening to Carolyn!
And later I got a book signed by Carolyn Mackler--so I could give it to one of you!
If you'd like to win a signed copy of Guyaholic (one of my favorites), please leave a comment below. Drawing will take place on Friday, August 20, 2010.
Open to anyone in the world!