Sunday, November 14, 2010


Yesterday I spoke at the SCBWI conference--shoutout to Sydney Salter for putting on a darn good show--and learned a ton myself. In particular, Matthew Kirby (CLOCKWORK THREE) did a brilliant job of examining "voice" and "how to find yours." That's a topic I could have never addressed in five trillion billion years.

Anyway. I was struck again by the bravery of participants who submit a single anonymous first page for a critique by an editor and an agent in front of the entire group. The critiques are brutally honest, and I'd NEVER have the courage/confidence to participate in that kind of reindeer game.

There was one sample in particular that left everyone pretty much dumbstruck. It was the first page of a picture book about cremation. In fact, the title was something like "So-and-so Learns About Cremation." Good times. Because who doesn't always enjoy a snappy picture book about cremation?


LucindaF said...

Sidney is one great gal. Glad you had so much fun.
And cremation? Rock on! I want to be the illustrator.

Juliann said...

I really enjoyed your presentation! I'll be honest, I was totally snoozing through the "First Pages" class until the cremation story. . . but your class brought some life and energy back into the room and was very inspiring.

However, I want to bug you for more info on one subject. . . I've been googling every possible phonetic combination I can think of for that original YA book you mentioned so fondly. Tiki Hocker by Emmie Kern? Teaky Hawker by M.E. Kurns? I can't find it! Let me know if you get a chance.

Ann said...

I love your variations on the title here, Juliann!

The book was DINKY HOCKER SHOOTS SMACK by M. E. Kerr. She's not writing much now, but she truly inspired me.

Louise Plummer said...

Loved Emmie Kern. It gave me the giggles.

Lisa B. said...

wow, an anonymous first page. I would not want to be present when my anonymous first page was reviewed. That sounds horrifying.

Valynne said...

That first page was awesome! I turned to Matt Kirby and said, "I thought this was a picture book, but there's no way it can be." And he said, "No, I'm pretty sure it is." What a great day!