Saturday, August 7, 2010

Molly and Dawn's Excellent Adventure: The SCBWI Summer Conference, Part I

A huge part of the children's publishing world came together last week in Southern California, and I felt so fortunate to be there. My good friend Molly Hall and I both attended the L.A. conference for the first time, and we've teamed up to bring you:

Molly and Dawn's Excellent Adventure!

Since SCBWI Team Blog did an incredible job covering the conference and the sessions, I'll focus on our view of things as first-time attendees. If you click here, you'll see a short interview with Molly and me over at the official SCBWI conference blog. Keep in mind in real life I don't actually sound like Minnie Mouse. At least I hope I don't.

While the conference ended Monday, we're both still processing everything we heard. (Plus I'm going through major Molly withdrawals.) Molly and I had a blast going to sessions, hanging out with friends (new and old), drinking way too many products from Starbucks, and talking into the wee hours of the night. Or morning, if you want to get technical.

People came from all over the world to attend the conference.
Lin Oliver said there were 1,139 of us. After an impressive intro to the faculty and regional advisors, the hilarious Jon Scieska did the first keynote,
Tales of a Picture Book Writer: Do's, Don'ts, Maybes. He stressed the importance of YA writers reading all the YA books they can, picture book writers reading all the picture books they can, etc. He said to become an expert in your field then to leave all that stuff behind you and write.

M.T. Anderson
's keynote, The End of All Our Exploring: The Journey of Narrative, was also great. I'm going from my notes so forgive me if this isn't an exact quote, but he said, "Literature restores the sense of the unknown in what we already know. In art and literature, we see home and the familiar in a new light." He said we should make the unfamiliar familiar (his example: YOU KILLED WESLEY PAYNE by Sean Beaudoin) and vice-versa (his example: CORALINE by Neil Gaiman). He encouraged us to press ourselves to really pay attention to our words. The ending of his talk was a conference highlight: he sang his version of the Delaware state anthem.

Again, I'll refer you to the SCBWI Team Blog for more details on the keynotes and the sessions. I have pages of notes, but I'm focusing on our adventure. So maybe I should shift gears and tell you more about the social side of things?

I met some lovely bloggy friends in person for the first time!

That's Sherrie Petersen in the front. From left to right in the back: me, Carolina Valdez Miller, Sara McClung, and Casey McCormick. It was so cool!

Friday night was a wine and cheese reception. People from my region got together with people from another Pacific Northwest region, and it was a nice way to wind down after our first day. Here are a few pics from Friday night:

Joni Sensel and Nuria Coe

Jolie Stekly and Jaime Temarik

Brenda Olson, Mary Bell, Lucy MacAlister, and me

I think I'll break the conference into three posts. The final post will have an autographed book giveaway! Molly will also be sharing about the conference at her blog, Writer Mama Dreamer, and she'll have a giveaway too!

Happy writing! :)


Tabitha Bird said...

Woot! Glad you have such a great time :)

storyqueen said...

Sounds like so much fun!


P.S. the red dress is awesome!

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds awesome - can't wait for the next posts. You look great in the photos - nice dresses! :)

Faith E. Hough said...

You two look gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Did Molly and Dawn use a telephone booth to get to the event? ALways good to meet blogging buddies. I have yet to meet one.

Stephen Tremp

SWK said...

Yeah! Can't wait to read the rest of your posts about the conference. You and Molly look amazing!! - Stasia

Belle said...

Sounds like such great fun! I haven't been to a writing conference of any sort yet, but attending a SCBWI one is high on my list!

Molly Hall said...

Yay! I loved our adventure SO MUCH! Thanks for all the sweet words, everyone. Dawn, we totally should have used Stephen's idea and traveled via phone booth (like Bill and Ted!) Why didn't I think of that? There's always next year...

Dawn Simon said...

Thanks, Tabitha!

Shelley, it was so much fun! And thanks! :)

Thank you, Jemi!

Thanks, Faith!

Stephen, hee! No, we were boring and took airplanes and a cab. ;)

Stasia, thank you!

Belle, the SCBWI is awesome, as you know. I look forward to hearing what you think after you attend your first SCBWI conference!

Molly, I miss you! I agree: the phone booth was a good idea. ;)

Lydia Sharp said...

Thanks for letting us live vicariously through your experience. :)

I'm jealous of how photogenic you are, by the way.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Hi Dawn! I found your blog!! I had so much fun with you in LA. It was great to meet you. And now we can be blog friends, too. YAY! :)


Cuppa Jolie said...

It was so great to get to be witness to your Great Adventure. It was evident that it was great by the constant smiles on both of your faces. :)

And, from you photos, I know I missed talking to even more people than I had realized.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I'm still riding the crest of WOW! from the conference. I'm so glad we got to meet in person. Hope you stored up enough inspiration for the coming year!

Kjersten said...

Great to see you there, Dawn! I had so much fun.

Susan Fields said...

How fun to get to meet fellow bloggers. It looks like you had a wonderful time!

Anita said...

Thank you for sounds like such a great conference...I followed some of Tracy Wymer's posts, much to learn (and fun too).

Hema P. said...

Looks like you learned some cool stuff, all the while having a lot of fun. Nothing beats that combination! Thanks for sharing your findings with us, Dawn!

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Joan Holub said...

Dawn, this looks like so much fun. Informative, too. Thanks for sharing the pics!

Lola Sharp said...

Oh Dawn, you look like you had a blast! :)

I look forward to reading more about the conference from your perspective.


Margo Berendsen said...

I found you from Molly's blog. I liked that part about making the unfamiliar familiar, and vice verse. Great advice. I'm so going to the conference next year!

Sara McClung ♥ said...

I love the pictures!! Next time we'll have to hang out more than for a few moments =) xoxox