Post-Breezy Bits

I had a lovely time at the Southern Breeze SCBWI conference this past weekend. For anyone who might be visiting this blog after being at the conference, here are a few more resources:
  • The Annotated Query Letter That Worked that I mentioned in the Q&A this morning (a companion to the Annotated Query Letter from Hell)
  • "The Art of Detection" goes into more depth on and provides concrete examples of some of the "Twenty-Two Revision Techniques" described in the talk of that name.
  • On the way to the airport today, I realized I should have mentioned "Make a dummy" or "Fit your manuscript into a 32-page framework" for the picture-book writers at the Revision Techniques talk; both of those techniques are discussed in this picture-book speech.
  • I sort of muddled through a paragraph from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in talking about establishing shots, topic sentences, and conclusions in paragraph structure; the paragraph I was trying to quote is used in full about halfway through this talk, "A Few Things Writers Can Learn from Harry Potter," if you'd like to see it for yourself.
  • I included on my handout at that talk, and will praise again for anyone who wasn't there, Anita Nolan's excellent article "'The End' Is Only the Beginning," which is full of useful revision tips.
I also said one thing that was, in retrospect, rather stupid, and though I worry I'm compounding the stupidity by commenting on it, it is important enough that I wanted to say something about it here. I gave my "Dimensions of Character" talk on Saturday, which includes this character-creation exercise, and after the character's ethnicity was decided as "Italian," I noted that not once when I've done that exercise has anyone suggested "White" for the ethnicity, which I thought was interesting because --

And here I said something like "We're mostly white here," which was to some extent true; the room was probably eighty percent white people, as the rooms are at most SCBWI conferences I attend. (And I often think that if we want to diversify the writers and illustrators publishing books for children, it would be a positive first step to get more people of color into SCBWI, since the organization is so immensely useful in teaching the basics of the business and connecting new writers with agents and editors.) But I absolutely did not mean to exclude or diminish the writers and illustrators of color who WERE in the room with that remark, and I very much apologize if it came off that way.

Finally, Francisco X. Stork's The Last Summer of the Death Warriors -- the next book by the author of Marcelo in the Real World, and the book I mentioned where I-the-generally-pacifist-reader learned on p. 5 that the main character wanted to kill someone, and by p. 10, in some feat of narrative and character alchemy, I was one hundred percent on board with that murder -- is out TOMORROW, March 1, so you can experience that same bloodthirsty transformation for yourself. (As well as all the wonderful transformations that happen after that.) Enjoy!