Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New York Newbies…What We Learned

Writing Song of the Day: "School Spirit" by Kanye West

We made it back from New York in one piece. While the weekend started off, how should we put it, ANNOYINGLY, we learned a few things. Like to hear it? Here it goes…


  • Don't travel along the east coast by plane in the winter: This is probably THE most important take away from the entire trip. No. Really. It is. 
  • Ngram Viewer: Author Elizabeth Wein shared this site during her keynote talk. It's used for those of us who write historical fiction--you can check how often historical words and phrases shows up in books during a certain time period using this site. Read more about Elizabeth's keynote here.
  • Make sure your story has an emotional and physical ending: Having TWO endings makes your story that much more complex and allows for a better resolution--from Jack Gantos's keynote.
  • You can become a writer EVEN after being arrested!: Seriously Jack Gantos did it! Read more about his keynote speech on the SCBWI blog here.
  • When writing historical fiction, use objective research: Diaries are an easy go to, but they aren't always accurate--use recipes, logs, obituaries, things that are based in fact. This was said by Kendra Levin of Vikings Children's Books.
  • Don't make writing like a bad first date: Adding too much back story in the beginning? Would you want a second date with that guy? This was said by Anica Rissi, editor at Katherine Tegen Books
  • Find a mentor: Try and find someone a little more successful than you to look up to, someone you aspire to be like--advice from Sara Shandler, Alloy Entertainment. (Is Veronica Roth okay to look up to??? )
That's what we learned. What about you? What are some new writing tips that you've picked up lately?

2 comments:

Stephsco said...

Thanks for the wrap up! It seems like SCBWI should switch up their venues for the season; LA in winter and NYC in summer. I am too nervous to book a flight from Chicago to NYC the first weekend in Feb; we always have winter storms then!

Marquita Hockaday said...

We were saying the same exact thing! it definitely would make things a lot easier if they would switch the venues. Thanks for commenting, Steph!