As I attend our third sub-branch SCBWI meeting for the Sunshine Coast, I am reminded yet again at how fortunate we are to be a part of such a talented and generous community. We begin our meeting by introducing ourselves, our latest projects and discuss the many trials and tribulations of the creative life. I am sure we can all relate to everyone’s experiences, whether it be the challenge of balancing writing time with family, excitement around an up-coming New York writing conference, and Peter Carnavas’s thrilling CBCA 2018 nomination.
After our introductions, Taryn Bashford guides us through the ins and outs of creating an author platform, focusing particularly on website development, social media and how important it is to maintain a consistent and engaging online presence. I am always amazed at the expertise within our group, not only on writing, but across the wide skill set that is required to be a children’s author.
Next Margaret Gibbs waves her polished teachers wand by providing us with an in-depth insight of what teachers are looking for in an author visit. Her unique expertise was invaluable as she communicated the necessity to inspire, enlighten and motivate children. Marg also gave us five key points to communicate to the children;
- ‘Ideas come from everywhere.’
- ‘Share your ideas with others.’
- ‘Reading is essential.’
- ‘Don’t give up.’
- ‘You need to edit and re-edit.’
Finally, Peter Carnavas shared his experience with UQP in editing his children’s novel The Elephant. It was fascinating to hear how The Elephant was originally a versus novel and then gradually took its current format after structural edits. We heard how Peter altered his writing style by describing gestures and expressions more that he normally would have for picture books and how he was guided to avoid unintended rhymes. Peter also shared specific points that he focused on during his editorial process, such as simplifying seemingly uncomplicated words, like changing the word ‘beneath’ to ‘under,’ and always making sure there is a strong underlying ‘point’ to your story.
Thank you so much to Ali Stegart for your organising and Renee Irving-Lee for arranging the lovely room. I would whole-heartedly recommend SCBWI members to attend our informative and supportive community meetings. We will have our Queensland SCBWI leader Sheryl Gwyther at our final meeting for the year on Sunday 28th October from 2.30 – 4.30. (Venue to be confirmed.)