"Be a storyteller. In print. In visuals. Write what thrills you. Use surprise in your writing in familiar surroundings. Write books that take us away from what we expect. Embrace your own eccentricity. Look for new ways to see. Empower kids." These were all comments from some publishers who spoke about the writing process.
Some things we've heard many times before at these conferences but are worth repeating: Be authentic to your voice. Draw from your own experience. If writing a series, can your idea carry through several books? A friendship story never goes out of style. What do editors look for? Voice and plot were at the top of the list. A great hook. "One that I can wrap my hand around," one editor said. Likeable characters was also mentioned.
Need inspiration for your story? Look for inspiration in many different places like movies, art museums, TV, news articles, big anniversaries, i.e., Titanic, and radio programs like NPR. What are people talking about? These are just some of the comments/notes I picked up at the SCBWI-LA conference. Next time: pet peeves.