Inspiring Quotes from the #LA15scbwi Writing Conference

Left, picture book author and dear friend Miranda Paul. Right, Melissa Gorzelanczyk.

As always, my trip to the SCBWI summer conference in Los Angeles, California, was magical, especially when you add some of the top authors, illustrators, agents and editors in children’s book publishing to the scenery. (Did I mention there was a sparkle party?)

Here’s a sampling of the inspiration from the conference:

Tips for the Writing Process

“If there’s no trouble, there’s no story.” – Picture book author Mem Fox:

“If you were with a friend, how would you tell them your story?” – Jordan Brown, executive editor with Balzer + Bray/Walden Pond Press at HaperCollins

“Make sure every page is as strong as your first page.”  – Julie Strauss-Gabel, VP and publisher of Dutton Children’s Books/Penguin

“Tell your sloppy truth. Simple is always best.” – Julie Strauss-Gabel

“Write what obsesses you.” – Author Meg Wolitzer

“If you’re ever in doubt, choose action and dialogue.” – Wendy Loggia, executive editor at Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books (She’s also my editor, and one of the nicest women I’ve ever met.)

Wendy Loggia and Melissa

“Voice is about the feeling you get from the writing.” – Wendy Loggia

“Our job is to tell the truth.” – Nicola Yoon, author of Everything, Everything

How to Write Dialogue

“Let your conversations wind.” – Meg Wolitzer

On Setting

“It’s not just how the world looks, it’s how a character feels inside the world.” – Meg Wolitzer

Revision Tip

“Change your font when you start a revision. Leave the house and sit somewhere new.”
– Meg Wolitzer


“Getting an agent and book deal isn’t the finish line, it’s the starting point.” – Jodi Reamer, agent at Writers House

On Confidence

“Write and illustrate without fear, and if you have fear, pretend you don’t.” – Illustrator Joe Cepeda

Always Remember:

Don’t worry about what others are doing. Do what you do and do it well. Work hard. Take care of yourself. Focus on your journey and enjoy the beauty of story.

Previous years’ quotes:

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