Friday, February 3, 2012
SCBWI Winter Conference & Agent Tips
He has worked for years as a counselor in alternative schools that educate kids who've gotten kicked out of regular schools. So, he knows troubled teens (and talented, quirky kids) up-close. His writing, as was his speech, is raw, hilarious and heartbreaking. His novels have been on "banned" lists. Seems as if some of the best books are on those lists! They've also been ALA winners. Check out all of his novels.
There were agents galore at the conference. Here's a shortlist, noting their preferences:
Ken Wright from Writers' House particularly loves non-fiction. He also likes "voice-driven" YA.
Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary gushed about thrillers-YA sci-fi thrillers, whodunnit thrillers, and any kind of extreme page-turner.
Jennifer Laughran from Andrea Brown Literary wants clever, sarcastic, witty, high-concept novels. She's particularly seeking middle-grade novels, as "YA is somewhat saturated."
Regina Brooks of Serendipity Literary is interested in multicultural stories, and she's also seeking topical stories culled from what's in the news.
Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown Agency is seeking literary and compelling YAs, whatever the genre.
Author Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments was the keynote speaker. Her topic was YA love-triangles, and she had tons of diagrams with arrows to show all of the directions that triangle vibes could flow: from guy to guy as friends, from guy to guy as total enemies, from the girl, who keeps the guys both on the hook, on and on! One thing she cautioned against when writing a love triangle, is not to make the girl too indecisive. Better to have a reason that she can't choose the guy she really wants. Perhaps it's forbidden love, or the guys are brothers or.... Get the picture?
I'm glad I went to the conference. It inspired me! I think I've gotten enough material and fire to keep me going for a couple of years. What's your latest, greatest inspiration?