Monthly Archives: October 2014

Writing Tips from the SCBWI-WI Fall Retreat

theme workshopWhat an amazing weekend we had at the annual SCBWI-WI Fall Retreat in Oconomowoc. “Risks and Rewards” was the theme of the conference, which graced attendees with a lot of inspiration, advice and stories. Speaking of risks, I took a big one by presenting on Theme: Writing Books that Matter. That’s me on the left with my amazing attendees. They were awesome!

If you’ve never attended a writing conference, I highly recommend that you do–and doubly recommend that you go to one organized by the SCBWI. They really know how to do it.

Here are a few of my favorite tips and quotes from the weekend.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Author/illustrator David LaRochelle’s life advice he got from a book title

Writing tips from author Susan Campbell Bartoletti

  • “It takes at least three senses to breathe a scene to life.”
  • “If a character is happy in the beginning of a scene, and happy at the end, nothing has happened.”
  • “Retype your entire manuscript at least once.”
  • “You cannot tinker a story into working.”

Revision problems: “Look for seeds of solutions in the story.” – Editor Andrea Tompa, Candlewick

Really resonated with me: “Fiction can be emotionally autobiographical without being actually biographical.” – Author Kekla Magoon

Writers need to tell themselves everyday that, “This is my priority.”

Try Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s writing method: 45 minute writing sprints followed by 15 minutes of doing no reading whatsoever. (Think: laundry, walks, cleaning, etc.) Leave email and social media for later. Like she said: “When I write an email, I feel like I’ve done my writing for the day.”

Advice from the faculty panel: Find out who is working on your book and send them flowers.