Thursday, August 5, 2010


As if I don't face enough rejection during the submission process, I can't stick to the 140-character limit on Twitter. Nine items below have character violations. Egad! I only sent two tweets during the 2010 SCBWI Summer Conference, but had I been more concise—and had I turned my Netbook on—, here are the messages I would have sent. (Remaining characters are shown in brackets.)

  1. 1200 attendees. It's sunny, the palms are beautiful in a wispy sort of way and we're all in a hotel ballroom 2 levels below ground. This must be good. [-11]
  2. Jennifer Hunt, editor Little Brown Books for Young Readers: skip trends, go for universals. (Think Judy Blume, John Hughes movies.) [8]
  3. Jennifer Hunt: Be open-minded as you write. Let character's voice come thru & let go of adult judgments. [35]
  4. Loren Long, author/illustrator (Mr. Peabody's Apples; Otis): With picture books, find the "emotional hit". The book becomes the child's friend. [-3]
  5. Gordon Korman-The ultimate school praise was when the teacher wanted to laminate his story. [49]
  6. LGBTQ Panel re. MG/YA content—Not a crowded field. It will stand out among submissions. [52]
  7. E.B. Lewis, extraordinary illustrator! Bought The Other Side, a story about a black and a white girl divided by a fence. Check out the use of the book spine as a divider as well. [-39]
  8. Josh Adams, agent: Out of 6,000 submissions/yr, happy if find 6 to represent. Yikes! [54]
  9. Josh Adams: Timeless books will always be timely. [90]
  10. Gail Carson Levine, author (Ella Enchanted)-Don't always have to have conflict/tension, but a "growth of experience". [23]
  11. Carolyn Mackler, author (The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things), citing Judy Blume: It's not just the books that are banned. It's the books that will never be written. [-36]
  12. Marion Dane Bauer, author (On My Honor)-It's the preschool picture books that sell. Less than 400 words. Strive for simplicity & compression. [-2]
  13. Jon Scieszka: We don't have enough books that reflect the emotional reality of boys. [55]
  14. Gennifer Choldenko, author (Al Capone Does My Shirts): Take care of your "writer" self. ID what that self needs & figure out how to nurture/honour it. [-11]
  15. Rachel Vail, author (Justin Case: School, Drool and Other Daily Disasters): "Do we ever look at a book the way we do when we're ten years old?" [-4]
  16. Rachel Vail: Recall an adult who listened & took you seriously as a child. We have to listen in that way to our characters. [16]
  17. Paul Fleischman, author (Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices): When writing a novel, ride the wave, see where it takes you...but it helps to have a surfboard (i.e., outline, aforethought) underneath you. [-63]
  18. Justin Chanda, publisher: ebooks will help readers access stories in which the cover might make them feel embarrassed (Think adults reading YA, struggling readers...) [-27]
  19. Francesco Sedita, publisher: If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking risks. [55]
  20. Why doesn't Vancouver have a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (ice blended mocha!)? Maybe if the writing doesn't work out... [26]

Gregory Walters' first middle grade novel, Fouling Out, was published by Orca Book Publishers in 2008. He's a twit when it comes to Twitter, but feel free to follow him.

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