SCBWI LA 2010 – The Quick Take Away

The SCBWI LA 2010 conference was a treasure trove of information! And the goldmine is coming, but it will take a few weeks to type everything up and post it all, so keep checking back for new articles and notes. But in the meantime here’s a taste.

The Digital Revolution:

  • We are in the middle of a digital revolution, and writers and illustrators may find themselves with a new name: Content Creators. But don’t be afraid of what is to come. Books are not going away. Agent Rubin Pfeffer stressed that the new media is “not instead of, but in addition to!”
  • Rights are a big issue right now. Be sure you have an agent who will have your best interests in mind. (Agent Panel)
  • The story comes first. Don’t add extra apps, media, animation, etc. if it doesn’t serve the story. (Editor’s Panel)
  • You want to have an online presence before you sell your book, because after you sell it you won’t have time to set one up. (Jill Alexander, Author)

Trends, The Marketplace, and What Editors are Looking For:

  • Funny middle grade boy books are hot hot hot! If you have one, editors and agents want to hear from you!
  • “If you want to write to the trends, then the vampires win.” (Justin Chanda, Editor)
  • Every house is looking to make a graphic novel. They just haven’t quite figured out how to do it, but we’ll bumble through anyhow. (Nick Elipulos, Editor)
  • The ideal author is one who is talented, dedicated, reliable, strategic, collaborative, and appreciative. (Stephanie Owens Lurie, Editor)

Writing, Storytelling, and Craft:

  • The purpose of fiction (and art) is to rediscover a new landscape. To show the reader the world in a new way, by estranging them from the familiar. (M.T. Anderson, Author).
  • “The emotional resolution is your truth. Feel your way through the story.” (Marion Dane Bauer, Author)
  • “Comedy is tragedy. It just happens to be wearing clown shoes.” (Sid Fleischman, Author)
  • Experimental fiction is actually not experimental at all. These techniques have been used for years, and in fact may be perfect for children! (M.T. Anderson, Author)
  • Voice is what makes your story, how it is told, what it conveys, and how it maintains our interest, powerful. (Jennifer Rees, Editor)
  • Concerning Non-Fiction: There are mistakes that alter the truth of a book, and there are those that do not. We all make mistakes. No book is perfect. (Non-fiction Panel)
  • Think about your own excellence, and write toward that. (Jennifer Brown, Editor)

Inspirational Words of Wisdom:

  • “Fill yourself up to overflowing and then give it back.” (E.B. Lewis, Illustrator)
  • ‘Not bad, pretty good,’ is the best compliment you will ever get from an 8th grader on your book. (Gordon Korman, Author)
  • “Throw your heart over, and follow.” (Gennifer Choldenko, Author)
  • “If you put art into this world, you will get beauty in return.” (Ashley Bryan, Author/Illustrator)

Keynote Speeches, Panels, and Breakout Session Notes – COMING SOON!

I attended the following keynote speeches and sessions (listed below). Please stay tuned for detailed notes on each of these amazing presentations. I will update this list with links as new articles are posted, so bookmark this page!




  • Non-Fiction Panel: Why Narrative Nonfiction is Hotter than Ever
  • Carolyn Mackler Keynote: For Richer or Poorer – Writing Through Good Times and Bad
  • Rachel Vail: Seeing Your Characters From the Inside Out
  • M.T. Anderson: Literary Experiment in Books for Children
  • Gennifer Choldenko Keynote: Kill the Bunnies – Writing Novels for Today’s Kids
  • Rubin Pfeffer Keynote: Are We Now A Society of Content Creators?


  • Rachel Vail Keynote: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters
  • Paul Fleishman Keynote: Surviving the Novel
  • Editors Panel #2: A View From the Top – 4 Publishers Discuss our Industry
  • Jennifer Rees: Your Voice is  Your Voice – Keeping it Real
  • Jill Alexander and Michael Bourret: Your Manuscript is Ready But Are You?
  • Ashley Bryan Keynote: A Tender Bridge

Learn more about SCBWI at:

If you went to the conference, I’d love to hear some of your quick take-away’s as well! Please share!

5 thoughts on “SCBWI LA 2010 – The Quick Take Away

  1. Hi Ingrid,

    I’ve posted five posts on my days at L.A. SCBWI If you’re interested, you can find them at my live journal blog! Thanks for sharing your insights. I’ll be posting another blog post rounding up other SCBWI member’s takeaways including yours 🙂

    Carmen Oliver

  2. can’t wait to see rest of notes and insight…any for Cecilia Yung and Pat cummings (for illustrators?)
    Steven Malk?
    and closing remarks…
    what a time!? thanks,

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