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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What Jane Yolen Said....

The Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Conference was this past weekend. And it was, as usual, a success! The conference promised, and delivered, a terrific line-up to a packed house. We had the great pleasure of listening and learning from Sarah Davies of Green house Literary; Valerie Tripp of the American Girl Series; Lonnie Plecha of Cricket Magazine; Elizabeth Carpentiere of FACES Magazine; Amanda Forr of Girl's Life; Julie Vosburgh Agnone of National Georgraphic Kids; Alvina Ling of Little, Brown; Jill Santopolo of Balzer and Bray; Allison Wortche of Knopf; Marilyn Mark of Marshall Cavendish; and our Keynote Speaker, Jane Yolen.

But before I get to Jane, let me first share with you some tips from Valerie Tripp. I really enjoyed her enthusiasm and absolute passion for what she writes. Here are a few quotes from her speech...

"Be patient....scribble. Writing is like housework, except after its finished it stays clean."

"Choose a genre that gives you purpose."

"Nurse those grudges. Forgive but don't forget." And she gave a personal example, which proved to be a great scene in one of her books.


What about Jane, you ask? Well, she had a list of 21 Writing Rules. I'll post my favorite ones here.

3. Don't let characters float on the page. Give them action....description of characters with great dialogue. "Context is everything."

4. Have fun writing. Butt in chair and heart on the page!

5. Wrinkles are far more interesting in your picture.

7. No one outside of a fairytale should have a happy ending. A meaningful ending must have a lifetime of discussion.

8. Finding the right words is the difference between a lightening bug and the lightening (this she quoted from someone...but I can't remember which writer).

11. The narrator shall be known right away in the opening line. Plan your first line well.

16. Too many writers ignore landscape. No one teaches us to see, except in art classes. Most of us miss the little things. Place (landscape) can be a metaphor or even a character.
The territory helps to shape the character. Your details must be precise, not as a visitor, but as a resident. Be an observer of nature as well as character. GO OUTSIDE. SIT IN A SHADOW. BECOME PART OF A TREE.

19. There may actually be projects you'll never complete. That's okay. Move on.

21. Just write. A writer writes and that's what matters.

Thank you, Jane, Valerie, and the others...

~Mary

7 comments:

Brianna Caplan Sayres said...

Thanks so much for sharing! Conference inspiration is wonderful (and Jane Yolen sounds amazing)!

C.R. Evers said...

Wow! That would be AMAZING to hear Jane Yolen speak! Sounds like a great conference!

I'm pretty sure the quote she gave about the lightening and lightening bug is from Mark Twain.

Great info! I enjoyed reading! Conferences are awesome, aren't they?

:0)

Mary Rand Hess said...

Thank you, Brianna. It was a wonderful time.

Hi, C.R.! Yes, it was very moving to hear Jane Yolen speak. And you are right...it was Mark Twain who said the following...

"The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."
- Letter to George Bainton, 10/15/1888

Kelly said...

I adore Jane Yolen's books! Thanks for sharing her words!

Mary Rand Hess said...

My pleasure, Kelly!

Polly and Meek said...

How sweet of you to share such great info! I visited your webpage. You are a wonderful writer. Looking forward to more of your work. --Onjeinika

Mary Rand Hess said...

Onjeinika,

Thank you!

Hugs,
Mary