Writing Advice from the Best: Authors and Editors

I attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Golden Gate Conference at Pacific Grove’s Asilomar this past weekend where I soaked up the sun, strolled on the beach, and became infused with creativity when speakers and attendees focused on their inner genius, the theme of the weekend. 

Although I can’t possibly portray the inspiration I acquired, I can share a few tips of some of the fabulous faculty. 

Young adult author Charlie Price (Desert Angel, Dead Connection) didn’t start writing seriously until he was 58.  He says, “Relax.  Release.  Let go.” 

The creativity panel told us to watch the movies of the genre we’re researching and writing to help vitalize our visual senses.

Author illustrator Dan Yaccarino (Go, Go, America, Lawn to Lawn) advises us to do what he did:  say yes, ask a lot of questions, and listen. 

Editor/author Arthur Levine, (Monday is One Day, All the Lights in the Night) most recognized for co-editing the Harry Potter series, reassured us that children’s books do not have a bleak future and this period is merely a transitional phase. 

He also asks the question, “Really?”  “Did that character really look like that?  She really say that?  Really feel that way?”   Don’t stop questioning yourself if it feels automatic.

What type of book is he looking for?  Visit his website and discover what is on his bookshelf already.  That’s how you buy a gift for someone, by checking out their bookshelves, isn’t it?  This is a very valuable suggestion as to what any editor desires.  

Philomel editor Tamara Tuller, who is most interested in modern, literary middle grade and young adult fiction and story-based picture books, recommends “Write like you’re drunk and edit like you’re sober.” 

Write with abandon!  Get to it!

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No Responses to “Writing Advice from the Best: Authors and Editors”

  1. Joanne says:

    Great job of condensing hours and hours of presentations into a handful of valuable pointers!

  2. Excellent points, Liz–and a tight, concise summary. Thanks for this!

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