Sunday, April 24, 2011

SCBWI - Western Washington's Conference 2011

Last weekend, I attended SCBWI - Western Washington's 20th Annual Writing & Illustrating for Children Conference. It was fabulous. One attendee told me she thought the sessions, panels, and keynotes provided the perfect mix of craft, business, and inspiration, and I totally agreed. We have an amazing Advisory Committee, and the faculty was first-rate.

SCBWI-WWA blog is the place to go to get the full scoop, but I'd love to share some highlights, too!

I really enjoyed the keynote by
Deborah Wiles. She said story comes from three places: what you know and remember, what you feel, and what you can imagine. She said if a story is lacking, it's probably missing one of these things.

I was super eager to hear
Emily Jenkins speak. She writes for people of all ages, but it was her young adult work, books she writes under the name
E. Lockhart, that put her on my radar. My daughter introduced me to her books years ago, and I love them! I've read THE BOYFRIEND LIST, FLY ON THE WALL, and THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS. While I think THE BOYFRIEND LIST is my favorite so far, a writer at the conference told me she loved DRAMARAMA. I bought it and asked Ms. Jenkins to autograph it for my daughter.

Here I am with Emily Jenkins/E. Lockhart.

She encouraged us to be stylists--even in third person omniscient. Angelina Hansen did a great job summing up Emily Jenkins's keynote, so take a peek!

There wasn't a dry eye in the house when
Dan Santat spoke about his journey in his talk, "Getting to Point B." Watch this to get a feel for Mr. Santat and his incredible work.

Holly Black gave our final keynote. She had all sorts of interesting and helpful things to say about plot. One of my favorites: talking out loud about a story. She said talking out loud engages a different part of her brain. It allows her to take a step back from her work and try out crazy ideas. She said talking feels less committed, less isolated.

And those were just the keynotes! The breakout sessions were awesome, too!

Now for more photos!

Emilie Bishop and I

Emilie and I met a few years ago at her very first SCBWI conference. She is such a sweetie! I always love catching up with her at meetings and conferences.

The rest of my pics require some explanation. We had a dance party this year, and the theme was 2011 Dance Odyssey. We were invited to wear silver or a futuristic costume. I had neither, so I did the logical thing: I asked my teen daughter to help me make a duct tape dress!

It was hilarious. We made it a few days before the conference. Actually, she made it. I just stood still or rotated whenever she told me to. We taped a couple shirts together for length, cut the top the way we wanted it, then taped. Scissors were snipping by my neck and tape was coming very close to our heads as we peeled long strips off the roll. My daughter's quote: "I feel one of us is going to end up stabbed or bald by the end of the night." Thank goodness she was wrong! My husband, by the way, was thrilled. I spent very little money
and he ended up with extra duct tape in the house!

Molly Hall and I

Jennifer Mann and I
Jennifer is one of my uber talented critique partners!

Tina Hoggatt and Molly Hall
Molly, Tina, and Brenda Winter Hansen (not pictured) made up the Dance Committee. They planned a very successful event! Everyone seemed to have a blast!

How about you? I went fangirl over E. Lockhart. What author or illustrator would you love to hear speak?


Pk Hrezo said...

Awesome! I'm attending my first regional one in June in Orlando. So excited!!

Anonymous said...

haha I love your antennas or is it antennae? Looks like you had a wonderful time as usual. :)

Dawn Simon said...

Pk, I'm happy for you! I love being surrounded by writing and illustrating buddies and absorbing all the great things a conference has to offer. I hope you post about it!

Niki, it really was fun. :)

Laura Pauling said...

Sounds like you had an awesome time! We have our conference coming up in a couple weeks!

Ghenet Myrthil said...

It sounds like it was a great conference! I love E. Lockhart and would have gone fangirl for her too! Love the duct tape dress. :)

Stasia said...

It was great to see you at the conference, Dawn. Now that I see the pix from the dance, I'm really bummed that I missed it! Awesome duct tape artistry, btw.

Faith Pray said...

Dawn, it was a blast meeting you. Your duct tape dress was outstanding! I loved hearing each of the faculty. Some authors and illustrators I would love to listen to: Janet Lee Carey, Lisa Yee, Megan MacDonald, Gail Carson Levine, Barbara McClintock.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these pics.

I'd love to hear John Green speak (and I believe he'll be in L.A. in August).

Dawn Simon said...

Laura, good for you! :)

Thanks, Ghenet! From books you've posted about in the past, I think we have similar tastes.

Thanks, Stasia. It was great to see you!

Faith, I had a blast meeting you, too. Your baby is so beautiful and so good! Nice list. Two authors I'd add to mine are John Green and Meg Cabot.

Dawn Simon said...

Medeia, yes, he'll be in LA! Yay!! We had a simultaneous John Green moment; I think we were both thinking of his books the very same minute! *insert Twilight Zone music*

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

What a cool conference! Looks like you learned a lot, met some great people, and had a blast at the dance. I don't think our regional con is quite like this. I'm not even sure we have keynotes. Hm. Well, we'll find out how it goes--I go this weekend. Thanks for sharing your super pics! Love the costume.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

This looks like so much fun, Dawn! I may have to crash a western Washington conference next year. We'll see! I hope there's dancing! ;)


Kjersten said...

The conference is so fun to read about, Dawn. Thanks for posting. I love the dance party pictures. Your costume is amazing!

Dawn Simon said...

Carolina, this is the first year we had a dance at our conference. Nice summary: learned a lot, met some great people, and had a blast! I wish you the same at yours!

Amy, yes, do it! I remember you dancing, dancing, dancing in L.A. :)

Thanks, Kjersten! You were missed.

Susan Fields said...

I'd love to hear Holly Black speak!!! Tithe and Ironside are two of my favorite books. She has such a beautiful way with language.

Just this weekend, I tried to work out a plot problem by tellling my husband about it. I told him he didn't have to fix it, just listen. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was my first time doing exactly what Holly suggested - talking out loud about my work. And it really did help!

Angelina C. Hansen said...

Dawn, the conference wouldn't have been the same without you! Sorry I was sick last week and didn't chime in earlier! Thanks for this enthusiastic post and fab pictures!

Dawn Simon said...

Susan, that's really neat! You and your husband sound sweet together. I think I remember one of your posts said he's one of your beta readers, right? I talk out my stories with crit partners, and I think it's so helpful. I sometimes talk out plot issues with my husband, too. He's a super good listener, and he comes up with great ideas! Regarding Holly Black, you could tell she was super smart!

Thanks, Angelina! I'm sorry to hear you were sick. You did a great job organizing the volunteers! :)

Paul Greci said...

Looks like a great conference experience, a cool mix of great speakers and friends! Thanks for sharing.