Sunday, April 17, 2011

Emily Jenkins' Keynote Address: It’s Not Good Enough #SCBWIWWA

Reported by Angelina Hansen

Author Emily Jenkins shared about revising and more during the Saturday afternoon keynote address. Here's some highlights:

Children’s books should be “small treats” that can be taken frequently without ill effects

Picture books articulate the connection to parents and caregivers. The child learns to accept things, know why parents are right. Obedience. Respect. Safety. These have agendas, but can also be fun to read.

Figure out why you’re writing your story. To educate or inspire? If so, you need another reason. You need a driving desire or problem. Figure it out by writing the story, otherwise it will be stagnant and boring. If you set out to teach a lesson, your book is in danger of getting bogged down by the message.

Make your story is an emotionally and mentally stimulating treat. If something is not delicious, it should go.

Writing across table from John Green, he asks Emily, “ Can you make the book better?”
“Don’t have time,” Emily says.
“Don’t turn it in,” John says. “DON’T TURN IT IN UNTIL YOUR BOOK IS GOOD ENOUGH!”"

* Add action.
* Have something physical happening.
* “There is a plan afoot” but do not tell reader what it is. Overt foreshadowing. Create a mystery, even if it’s not a mystery.

Find a voice and push it, push it, push it. How?
* Mess with punctuation.
* Add a lot of paragraph breaks and caps and ! Go back and fix it later.
* Incite the reader’s curiosity in the first sentence. For example “Where is Papa going with that ax?” CHARLOTTE’S WEB
*Let this sentence have a rhythm. Can’t be any other book. Unique.
*Be stylists

Work. Rework.
Invite readers in and makes them care!

No comments: