Friday, July 30, 2010

Jon Scieszka Friday Morning Keynote

First National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Jon Scieszka, is here, looking dapper as always:
Since being laid off from his ambassadorship, Jon has not been resting on his diplomatically immune laurels, oh no. He and fellow faculty member Francesco Sedita have a new book out called SPACEHEADZ that you'll all want to read. And if you haven't heard about his excellent new GUYS READ: FUNNY BUSINESS coming out this fall, you'll want to get in line for it now, especially after you watch the star-studded book trailer (at bottom of post.)

But Jon's not talking about his middle grade books this morning, but picture books! "Tales of a Picture Book Writer: Do's, Don'ts, Maybes."

A Big Don't: Don't do as Jon did, don't send your picture book manuscripts to gardening publishers.

Biggest Do: Congratulate yourselves for being here, at a children's book conference. As opposed to Jon's dentist, everyone he's ever golfed with, the kid down the street, and the Pope, who all say they have great ideas, but haven't written them down, and maybe, haven't read a picture book in the last few decades.

Big Do: Read every book in your chosen genre that you can, especially those on the School Library Journal's list of Top 100 Picture Books (top three are WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, GOOD NIGHT MOON, and THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR.)

Big Do: Read really crappy books, too, that's an education, Jon says.

Big Do: Find books you connect with, Jon's favorites TIKKI TIKKI TEMBO, NO, DAVID, and CAPS FOR SALE

Now, Jon is listing all the picture books he finds creepy. Most of them are written by comedians or involve bunnies.

Do: As his agent, Steve Malk, always says become an expert in your field. Read The Horn Book, PW Daily, School Library Journal, and industry blogs. See Betsy Bird's Fuse #8 blog for a great blog roll (like Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and our own SCBWI blog.)

Don't: Once you start writing, stop reading all the blogs and industry magazines and get down to working. Jane Yolen is right, Jon says, just DO. Write, write write. But if you're Jon's dentist, don't, don't, don't.

Jon shares some slides of his book covers and talks about the handwritten rejections he's received (super quips in the Twitter feed from fellow Team Bloggers, look for #LA10SCBWI.)

And now, Jon's overtaken the cockles of my heart. He's reading us The Tub story from GEORGE AND MARTHA, what he calls a perfect story in only four lines.

Writers Do: Leave room for illustrators to go wild in your stories. He's talking about the TRUCKTOWN series and the three amazing artists that contributed to it. And the wild and wonderful new ROBOT ZOT!

No comments:

Post a Comment