I’ve been posting for several days now on the speakers at SCBWI-WI’s fall retreat. The two I’ll highlight today were informative and funny, and their ideas were excellent.
Author Julie Bowe started her session with prompts to get us thinking back to our childhood selves. We’re talking thoughts such as, “It makes me so mad when … ” or “I love it when … ,” and we were to complete the sentence as if we were our 3rd-to-5th grade selves. That was a fun little mental vacation back to my elementary-school playground (I can still remember the concrete tubes we climbed on.). The idea was to mentally return to the age of your protagonist, an absolute necessity if your writing is to resonate with that group of readers. Julie took us through fantastic research highlighting the physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development of older elementary-school kids. Armed with this knowlegdge, authors can have their protagonists meet and resolve their own problems within their ability and intellectual capability.
Illustrator Henry Cole took us from rough sketches to final art on several of his books. His overhead projections showed how illustrations progress, how much they can change, and how very much emotion they evoke. We remember the art of our favorite picture books, and great art stays with us forever.
Well, great books in their totality stay with us forever, and no doubt kids who’ve enjoyed Julie’s and Henry’s works would count their books among them.