Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quotes to Remember

Week of January 15, 2012—Reflections from SCBWI Miami
Tuesday, January 17—Quotes to Remember

SCBWI Miami was filled with great presenters and panels. Below are a few of the quotes I'll remember and put to use. I hope you find some inspiration in them, too.

ON THE SUBJECT OF THE JOB OF A WRITER
“You need to know everything about your character, even if it’s not in the text of the book. This will make the character coherent.”
Donna Jo Napoli

“Sometimes things can be so remarkable that it is unbelievable—we must lay the foundation so it is believable.”
Donna Jo Napoli

“Start the story where the story starts.”
Donna Jo Napoli

“Your job is to make them [the reader] have to turn the first page.”
Donna Jo Napoli

“In bad times, art flourishes. Forget about sales. Write.”
Donna Jo Napoli

ON THE SUBJECT OF PICTURE BOOKS BEING DEAD
“There is a thriving picture book business. But the problem may be that there were too many poor ones that came out.”
Bonnie Bader

“Good books can be published.”
Diane Muldrow

ON THE SUBJECT OF WHAT WRITERS DO WRONG
“Too much telling and not enough showing.”
Bonnie Bader

“Weak character development, or characters that sound the same. Characters need to be distinctive.”
Bonnie Bader

“Not doing their research and submitting the wrong things to us.”
Diane Muldrow

“People not thinking visually—beware the talking heads.”
Diane Muldrow

“Don’t write to trends.”
Tamar Brazis

“Stilted language.”
Natalie Lescroart

ON THE SUBJECT OF LESSONS LEARNED THROUGH SCBWI
“For every book you write, read 500. Develop your own canon of literature that means something to you.”
Lin Oliver

“We read for one reason—we read to ‘root.’ If that person can do it, so can I. We need hopefully endings.”
Lin Oliver

“Read everything aloud.”
Lin Oliver

ON THE SUBJECT OF INSPIRATION AND LESSONS LEARNED
“I don’t write these stories, they write me.”
Greg Neri

“Doors open if you’re receptive. Walk through them and you’ll end up in a whole different part of the building.”
Greg Nari

ON THE SUBJECT OF WHAT PICTURE BOOK WRITERS NEED TO DO
“Art needs to be spelled out and specific.”
Bonnie Bader

“Make your vision clear when you submit.”
Bonnie Bader

“Most picture books can’t focus on more than two characters.”
Tamar Brazis

“Make the story work and make it vivid—even if it’s not all true.”
Tamar Brazis

“Not every book can be an $18.00 picture book.”
Diane Muldrow

“Always think of page turns.”
Diane Muldrow

“Take ownership of your writing.”
Diane Muldrow

“Think like an editor.”
Diane Muldrow

COOL PICTURE BOOK DUMMY HINT
“Take a picture book format you like [page numbers, size, etc.], then lay your book out to match.”
Diane Muldrow

5 comments:

Janet Smart said...

You have some good quotes for us to ponder on. I so agree with many of them.

taralazar said...

"I don't write these stories. They write me." Love that. It's so true sometimes, they just spill out. I find the ones that spill are the most successful, too.

Cathy Mealey said...

“For every book you write, read 500. Develop your own canon of literature that means something to you.”
Lin Oliver

So smart...should be rule #1 for aspiring PB writers! As long as at least 50% of the picture books you read have been published in the last 5 years!

World of Julie said...

I'm totally saving this post. So many great things to remember here when trying to revise and jump-start stories! Thank you!

Gwen Olsen said...

I'm still working on my steps of accountability (goals), and these quotes really help. Lin Oliver hits a chord with me when she says, "We read for one reason--we read to 'root.' If that person can do it, so can I. We need hopefully endings." It makes me want to read her books, which can only improve my writing. Thank you!