Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Iowa SCBWI conference recap

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Iowa SCBWI spring conference.

My friend, illustrator Emmeline Hall, arranged for three of us to car pool and room together.

The conference started on Friday afternoon with presentations from Julie Ham on picture book beginnings and nonfiction picture books.

The next day included a keynote from Donna Jo Napoli and presentations from Carter Hasegawa, Laurent Linn, and Linda Skeers. After Donna Jo Napoli's speech I am reminding myself of my right to write. Despite the fact that I am not a morning person lately I've been carving out writing time for myself in the mornings. I'm sure the "morning" I'm referring to is much later for real morning people but that's what I've got.

I really enjoyed Laurent Linn's presentation and am looking the covers of the stack of books sitting on my coffee table with a little more perspective.

I'm using the advice in Linda Skeers's talk to improve the humor in some of my funny stories.

On Sunday the Illustrators spent the morning in an illustrator intensive and the writers spent the morning in a writers intensive. Julie Ham talked about Charlesbridge and Jessica Regel talked about queries and hooks. People in the audience shared their hooks and Jessica let them know what worked and what could be improved.

Overall it was a great conference. One of the things I really enjoyed was that it was very picture book friendly. I've been to conferences that seem very YA focused in the past and this felt like a good fit for the things I'm working on right now.

The conference was held in this old hotel called The Lodge. It has this sort of German, ski chalet, bavarian, castle theme to it. I know, a lot of those things don't go together. This hotel used to be the place to go in its hey day. Sadly it has fallen into disrepair. They also serve powdered eggs on the breakfast buffet with the exception of the omelet bar. But despite the fact that the hotel was a little like something out of a Stephen King novel I got some fun pictures.


Seriously, these castle windows
Another great thing about this conference is that it happened to be in my hometown. Now I don't get back to B-dorf often enough because my parents moved to Des Moines but my best, dearest, friend lives there so I got to see her for two nights in a row.  I read books with her kids, had a dance party, and built a lego gas station.

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