More on the August 2009 SCBWI-LA conference: 2001 Newbery Gold Medal winner Richard Peck ( A Year Down Yonder ) was a keynote speaker who inspired us all. Following are some of his comments.
“Every page, every day, we must ask: when will this story start? Who is going to tell our story? Not us. We are adults. We create characters who will speak for us. Why are we writing this story? What is the moral of the story? A story is always about a sudden new alertness that has to be acted upon. We have to know exactly how our character changes. Where are our characters standing/setting? A setting is always somewhere we have never been but want our readers to go. Every piece of the setting has to be there for a reason. Every detail must be working. It has to matter. Happy writing makes for satisfactory reading. The whole book has to be the rest of your book. The first page is the last page in disguise. We have to be photographically clear, i.e., period rooms in other eras. Scent works too. ”