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May. 2nd, 2007

bonnybecker

To conference, to conference to meet Bruce Coville

Last Saturday was the Seattle area SCBWI writers’ conference. After attending a lot of conferences, you wonder if it's worth it going to yet another. But it was great. Lots of big names including Bruce Coville and Paul O. Zelinsky 

What impressed me most about Bruce was his passion for children’s literature. Not only does he do tons of his own writing and tons of speaking, he’s also deeply involved these days with his recording company Full Cast Audio. As described on the website:

Full Cast Audio (FCA) has a simple mandate: to produce unabridged recordings of fine children's novels using a full cast rather than a single reader. Whenever possible, we invite the author to serve as narrator.

Wouldn’t that be fun! He says he looks for books that are dialog-driven and include fun, distinct characters to really take advantage of that full cast. I managed to hand him a copy of Holbrook: A Lizard's Tale to consider for Full Cast. I didn't have to be obnoxious or anything it just happened very naturally... hope he enjoys!

What impressed me most about Paul was the way he re-imagines his own style with each story he illustrates. Check out the difference between, say, Rapunzel and The Shivers in the Fridge  Creating the Shivers included a visit to the local grocery store to find likely food items that could make for good “architecture” in the city of the Shivers. He had a lot of fun with background details such as a towering can of whipping cream that spills its cream into the air, ala an industrial chimney.

There were also a number of agents and editors.

Word from the marketplace is: most everyone is pretty full up with fantasy and your story would have to be majorly fresh to cut through these days. Several editors are the lookout for non-fiction, especially biographies—but they emphasized wanting the writing to be entertaining using fiction techniques. Everyone wanted “voice.” That indefinable something…

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