Friday, August 5, 2011

Bruce Coville's Keynote - Tips On The Writing and Illustrating Life

Bruce is giving the rapt audience of 1,342 of us twelve tips - they're funny and interesting and unexpected... Here's three of them:

1. Take acting or storytelling lessons. What's the essence of acting? Entering the internal life of your character. And what better tool could you have as a writer?

2. Take your art seriously, and take yourself seriously as a business person. Our culture tries to de-fang artists by linking the idea of being an artist with being a "starving artist" - because if you're an artist and doing your art properly, you're dangerous. Bruce says of himself,

"I became a children's book writer because it was the most subversive thing I could think to do."

So learn to read contracts. Royalty statements. Negotiate. Provide for your retirement. Insure yourself.

3. Scare yourself. Be fearless. Cole Porter said, "Courage is Freedom."

Bruce says, "If you don't jump, the wings never come." And it's writing, so if you jump and fall, you can just back up ten pages and try again.

So when you think you're at the end, see if there's more, if you can push forward, make there be more at stake...

Bruce is sharing so many great moments and tips, and just told a story - wove a story - that made tears come to my eyes.

okay, I have to share one more brilliant moment...

"A good book is like other books, a great book is only like itself."
And that was a great keynote!

Now the room is on its feet, giving Bruce a standing ovation...

1 comment:

  1. I had the joy of hearing Bruce Coville at a much smaller SCBWI conference of less than 200 attendees in Arlington, Texas last October. Although I've been writing steadily for six years outside of my full-time job, I've played it safe by writing on my free time. How can you fail when you're just dabbling? His keynote address gave me the courage to jump off the cliff completely (at least for 18 months) into this passion of mine. I asked him if what he shared with us was in written form somewhere because I know I'll need to remind myself why I'm doing this when Fear comes waving the safe and secure 8 to 5 job in my face. But Coville hasn't put his inspiring speech in a publicly written form, so until he does, if you get a chance to hear him speak, go.

    Donna Van Cleve
    Taylor, Texas