I read extensively on a variety of subjects so I know the market. Stephen Fraser talked about about several books his author's have coming out, and many of them I already have on my to-read list. Even in the generas that I don't have a writing interest in (i.e. paranormal, picture books), I still read and keep current on.
"[A high concept novel is] a story where the premise is bigger than the characters." i.e. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Artemis Fowl by Eion Colfer, Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsSometimes the journey to knowledge is more important than the distention itself. Beneath all the research and history and expert opinion should be a mystery that makes kids question the reality of how the world is. But most importantly, every event is caused by something bigger and more global than the small little reaction we see in our own corner of the world.
"We aren't training kids for a Flatland. We're training them for a sphere."Being able to write for children/teens means knowing about modern teens. The world is changing too quickly for me to be able to rely on my own memory of what it was like to be in elementary school, middle school, high school. I need to be involved with kids--talk to them--and at least try to understand the issues they are dealing with on a daily basis.-Marc Aronson
"Find out what kids are learning about... What is the next thing that will change kids lives?"-Margaret Peterson Haddix
Characters need to have strong voices. I need to be able to hear my characters speaking and be able to see where they live. It's not enough to have a good story (a high concept) if I don't have the characters to support it. In contrast, without a solid story, even the strongest of characters cannot survive.
"If you're going to commit to writing a book for two years or more, you darn well better be committed to that story."-Joyce McDonald
This writing conference was an eye-opening experience for me. So if any of the speakers are wondering if they were able to teach anyone anything, if anyone was listening, know that I was. In these past few posts I have been able to touch on only a very few details that I learned. After two days, I hope I have become a better writer.
(Although I didn't quote her in either this post or the previous post, I'd like to mention Michelle Poploff and her wonderful session with Edie Hemingway about the editor/agent relationship. She helped me see that while making big changes to a manuscript might be scary and intimidating, they are worth the effort. It is better to make changes before a book goes to print than to be disappointed with your work years later.)