Hi everyone! I am YA author B A Binns , writer of contemporary and realistic fiction for teens. My tagline tells you what I am about - Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men - and the people who love them.
I'm so sorry my post is a little late this month, but that's because I spent a week at the 46th annual summer SCBWI conference for children;s book authors and illustrators in Los Angeles. I am bringing you back some of the highlights,
Diversity was a major theme of this year's conference. The first keynote speaker, Vanessa Brantley
"We can let adversity ruin us, or we can 'shake if off and pack it under.'" She grew up with dyslexia, severe stuttering and synesthesia. She was also the only "chocolate chip" in her otherwise white class, and faced teachers who made her status as unwanted very obvious. Although she realized that reality sucked big time, she learned to celebrate the differences and similarities between people. She defeated her stuttering through singing, and treated us to a rendition of "Children will listen" to remind us of the importance of what we write to our readers.
Remember, there is nothing easier to do than not create. So attendees hustled forth to be creators.
In between the opening and closing we had dozens of workshops to select from, some meant for beginners, others for long-time professionals. Workshops that included:
- Think of"what ifs"
- Jump around to different scenes
- Think of a scene to show an essential character trait
- Consider something you want/need/wish your reader to know
Newberry Award winning author Kwame Alexander, settled in for an "intimate" chat with the thousand plus attendees about his long journey to success.
He also taught a workshop on Business Tips for writers and answered many of our questions.
There were panels and more panels discussing the publishing industry of today.
One thing was unanimous. They want manuscripts that surprise them. If you make them laugh, cry and be intrigued by a character who flies off the page, they will want your manuscript.
Then it was time to go home, one of the most fearsome journeys I had ever undertaken. Not that the traffic was so bad. Our driver insisted on splitting his attention between watching the traffic,and watching the video on his phone.
That major announcement included clips from the movie, and a panel discussion with the author, and members of the production staff. The story is set in the 1940's when the Soviet Secret police deported large numbers of Lithuanians to Siberia. With the men separated from the women, Stalin's idea of population control) fight to survive and maintain their humanity. I admit I had not heard of this book or the events it details until I saw the top secret movie excerpts they showed us and listened to them discuss the labor of love that went into making this movie. The movie title will be Ashes in the Snow and I am going to line up to see it when it comes out in the fall.