Friday, 25 November 2011

SCBWIs Conference # 2

Australian Aborigines say that the big stories — the stories worth telling and retelling, the ones in which you may find the meaning of your life — are forever stalking the right teller, sniffing and tracking like predators hunting their prey in the bush.(Robert Moss, Dreamgates) This was one of the quotes used in Frank Cottrell Boyce's keynote speech, which was both amusing and inspiring. Like everyone there I will never think of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the same away again! He talked about reading raising expectations, which is so true. As writers we can provide the 'tools [for readers] to read this world carefully and critically' ('Learning to Read', Children's Literature Assocation Quarterly, 1997 Vol 22 No 3). It is a chance for us, as writers, to provide readers with a vicarious experience allowing them to make decisions on how they might react in certain situations - for more information on this idea see my PhD and Andrew Melrose's new book Here Comes the Bogeyman. Cottrell Boyce also pointed out that children's books lead you towards adulthood. But, as he said, reading is about so much more, it is about wanting to share something wonderful and passing it on. It is about having a story that they want to read in the first place. It is about having a narrative that makes them want to turn the page and finish the book. It is about great books. Frank continued by saying: 'A tale isn't beautiful until it has been added to!' (Very pertinent to someone who teaches textual intervention)

 In which case, may all of you potential writers that attended the SCBWI Conference (or couldn't make it this year) find that big story that is stalking you and make it into a beautiful tale that has been added to. For more information on Anthony McGowan's sessions on plotting and controversy check out Laura Atkins' brilliant blog and These were both fantastic sessions but I really couldn't add any more to these excellent posts.

 The SCBWI conference was a great place to remember why you write stories for children. For a start, it was a great leveler as you were surrounded by aspiring authors, multi-award winning authors, illustrators, publishers, editors and agents, but you couldn't always tell who was who as everyone is too busy chatting to worry about who someone might be. Though I did wonder if Anthony McGowan thought I might be stalking him as I attended both his sessions - it was pure interest honest! It was also a great place for Facebook Blind Date - or rather a chance to meet 'for real' all those people you have been talking to for months via fb. Also, if you need a reminder as to how welcoming and apparently buoyant children's publishing is make sure you become a member of SCBWI and then attend next year's conference. Part three on The Edge Panel to follow shortly!

 Here is another Ed Sheeran song because it is very relevant to my PhD. And I hope one day soon both parts of which will be books ;-)


  1. Thanks for the post, and the mention. I've also just posted on The Edge - so we could cross-reference! And how funny that you posted this song. I'm part of a music club (just informal gathering and singing) and we started to work on this song. It's just gorgeous! It was great to see you at the conference!

  2. My pleasure Laura and great to see you at the conference too.
    It is a sad video Jan but I do love the song and Laura am slightly envious of you getting a chance to sing it.