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SCBWI LA- Bruce Coville

Okay, so the summer is long past but I’ve taken notes that I’d love to share with other writers. And what a conference! Not only were there so many talented editors and agents there, but I got to meet other incredible writers.

My manuscript critique with Steven Malk was more than I could have asked for. I was lucky to be his last appointment and he took some time to chat with me about writing. Yeah, I left on cloud nine with heaps of writing treasures.

So here is a collection of my amazing experiences at SBWCI LA. (Remember, these are my random notes.) Enjoy!

Bruce Coville-
Bruce was an amazing speaker and had so much to say. Very inspirational. I took frantic notes.
· Writing is asking others to look at me.
· Should I be a writer? Example: If you are having a bad day and get in a fight with your spouse and you think, ‘Can I use this?’ Then you are a writer.
· Disqualified if you want to get rich.
· Reach children’s hearts!
· Why are you here? Do you fully understand what you are doing?

Children are in a state of crisis (three stages):
1. 1800’s and earlier- the child is an economic contributor to the family. They have a role and feel a part of the world in this way.
2. After World War II- the child is an object of love
3. Today- the child is a consumer. Only takes, not gives, denied real work because they are ‘loved’

Kids need heroes! Because that’s how they create themselves.

Bruce’s 7 Deadly Sins for a writer:
1. Dullness- Your work should spark and sparkle
2. Repetition- Don’t repeat yourself and do what’s been done by others. Be a trend setter!
3. Sloth- Not working to your best.
4. Inattention- Not thinking it through, no characters are moving in isolation, all implications on characters actions
5. Perfectionism- This is the enemy of achievement
6. Clumsiness- lack of craft, Master you tolls, sentences can get away from you like misplaced modifiers
7. Cliché- Do it the hard way, don’t make it easy on yourself

A great book is only like itself. Exceed expectations that the editor or reader is expecting. Give them more.

Bruce’s 7 Heavenly Virtues:
1. Passion- if you don’t have it, the manuscript is dead
2. Sensuousness- must be immediate, loving the descriptions of the world, check your sensory words used (smell, taste, touch, see) so that the reader is brought into the story. Make the scene come alive!
3. Wisdom- Transmit our own life experiences into the life of the child.
4. Guile- Magicians trick- want to draw in and bamboozle them, deceit is good
5. Humor- has an aspect of the sacred about it, it refreshes and energizes, be more of ourselves and the kids will see that
6. Courage- kids need demonstration of courage. They are so protected.
7. Joy- Amusement is to children as rain to flowers. Everyday joys, Find joy in the process, being free as you write

· Humor, courage and joy are the essences to the writer
· Every moment in a writer’s life there comes a point where there is a cliff- JUMP!
· Dreams that are not followed are the tragedies of life.
· Take on your memories- Divide a sheet of paper into 6 parts- one for each grade. Write down all your memories from each grade. Most likely the bad memories will stand out the strongest because we as humans want to avoid the bad and learn from it so it won’t happen again. Use THIS!
· Laughter is the first comprehensible sound
· We are the storytellers, the dream makers

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