I didn’t take a lot of notes during the presentations Lisa Yee, Bruce Coville or D. Anne Love (who filled in for Candace Fleming at the last minute because Candace was ill) gave, either. Again, all were wonderful speakers (each with his or her own style) who were a pleasure to listen to.
Lisa Yee had us do an exercise…she asked us to write down three things we were having trouble with right now. Ha! I wrote down four: getting my proposal done (which I finally managed to do…but that’s another blog entry), time management, figuring out what I can possibly say to Florida media specialists next week that would be interesting to them, balancing my writing life and my family life.
When we finished, she said that we should take a good long look at what we wrote down because whatever we’ve been doing up until now to solve these problems hasn’t been working and we’re going to need to tackle the problems from a new angle.
I heard a lot of great quotes during this conference. Many of them I’d heard somewhere before…but here’s one from Bruce that I especially liked (and I HADN’T heard before): “Life is a tragedy for those who feel…and a comedy for those who think.” Isn’t that great? Life falls somewhere in between comedy and tragedy for me…
Bruce also said that Harry Potter has a “cool things per page ratio.” (I hadn’t heard that one before, either. Doesn’t he have an interesting way of looking at things?)
Bruce thinks humor is a “gender issue.” Oh yeah…as the only female in a house of males, I would definitely agree! And he listed four magic words in kids books: fart, booger, naked and underwear. (I intentionally did not change paragraphs there because I think that list is gender related as well as age related.)
Bruce listed the following sources of comedy: “fish out of water,” come-uppance, embarrassment, wit and silliness.
“Joy is the laughter of the soul.” We start with tears…after crying, the first sound a child learns to make that communicates something to someone is laughter. (Interesting…I hadn’t thought about that before…) Bruce ended his talk with this thought: “In our writing and in our interactions with children, let us not take joy; let us give it.”
The main message in D. Anne Love’s talk was “don’t be limited by the phrase ‘write what you know.’ Write about what you want to know.” Good advice!