I spent last weekend at SCBWI Western Washington's 21st Annual Writing & Illustrating for Children Conference, "A Parade of Words and Pictures."
I enjoyed the entire weekend, but one of my favorite parts was Matt de la Peña's pre-conference fiction intensive on dialogue. Mr. de la Peña gave us so much to think about--both inside and outside the quotation marks--while writing scenes. I was extremely impressed with his approach to craft. I read WE WERE HERE last year, and it's a book that comes to mind again and again--which says a lot about his writing. If you ever have the opportunity to hear him and learn from him, go for it!
The Editors/Agents/Art Directors Panel was great. Moderator Kim Baker asked excellent questions, and the panelists' genuine love of kid lit could be felt when favorite children's books were discussed. It was very cool.
Melissa Sweet's keynote was super inspiring to me. She showed a video as she spoke, and we saw her wonderful studio. She had so many great things to share, but one item really stuck with me: when she's inside her studio, she is working. Simple, right? But after a slightly crazy winter when I was studying for a teaching exam (and passed!) and my family had an extra amount going on, my writing hours became harder to keep. Melissa Sweet's talk and Bruce Hale's keynote completely motivated me to return to my get-to-work-right-away and no-e-mail-while-writing schedule. I'm actually pretty excited about it.
I loved reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures. Next time I'll do better!
Nothing to do with the conference, but it has been sunny here in Washington! Woo-hoo! I'll end with a photo of my husband, Jim, and Thistle, the shameless sun worshiper. We often stop at a coffeehouse on the weekend, and we bring the dogs. Pepper loves the idea of going, but her fear of dogs keeps her on edge--and near our feet. (She seems to think she and Thistle are human beings.) Thistle, on the other hand, spreads out, assuming people will step around him. And people are so nice, they do--and they even smile at him as he hogs up the sidewalk.
Thistle and Jim relaxing in the sun