Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's All About the Magic

Week of August 12, 2012: Stand-out Moments from SCBWI, LA
Tuesday, August 14—It’s All About the Magic

When you think about it, writing is magical. Where do ideas come from? Magic. How does an author know how to take twists and turns in a plot? Magic. How does an imaginary character become real to readers? Magic. How does an author get a book published? Magic. Granted there’s a lot of hard work involved, too, but many speakers at SCBWI LA emphasized the magical components of writing.

In her keynote address, Newbery-award winner Karen Cushman, said, “Be open to the unexpected. See things unseen. Seek surprise. Ask questions that might have surprising answers.” She encouraged the audience to encounter the magic of writing by being playful with purpose. She also encouraged us to edit ourselves, but not to critique ourselves. An editor seeks to be helpful, a critique by nature is critical. Give up the critical for the helpful.

Karen has two rules: (1) Be honest in your writing. (2) Write with passion from your heart. She concluded by saying, “Make time for the creativity as well as the craft.”

Clare Vanderpool, another Newbery-award winning author, said that authors are “Stuck in the middle of life and art.” Paying attention, according to Vanderpool, is the key to creative magic.

Deborah Underwood, Crystal Kite winner for The Quiet Book, spoke about “The Power of Quiet.” She shared about brain research that says idleness and quiet time allow for creativity—which, of course, leads to magic. She said there are five steps to take to make time for quiet.

(    1. Realize the importance of quiet
     2. Schedule quiet
(    3. Look for those times when quiet is enforced on you—at a concert, in car, at a meeting and harness those quiet moments.
     4. Limit input—identify your own demons and deal with them (whether they be Facebook, texting, TV, or whatever else that steals your time and your quiet)
(    5. Notice the quiet already in your head.

Those are magical thoughts, don’t you think? J

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