Category Archives: Conferences

What Children’s Books Can Teach Adult Fiction Authors

The AWP held their annual conference earlier this month. Among their other great offerings was a panel focused on children’s publishing.
One author stated that characters are paramount in children’s and YA stories. The plot comes from the characters. Who each person is in the story creates the story. Each is presented with challenges or obstacles they must overcome. From that comes the different plot points and thus the entire story.
Another point was that there are no pointless characters. If one shows up but never plays an important role, that character should be struck.
A different author noted that “rumination” is part of the story. That is, the characters have to have backstories, histories that detail where they come from and why they’re motivated to act certain ways.
Finally, in response to a question about how to write for the market, one author said to write what inspires you. From there, you can determine how best to pitch and place the work in the existing market.
All of these points apply equally to adult fiction. Characters do create the plot and impact the story. They should have backstories. No character should ever be pointless, and the author should always write what interests them rather than what they think will sell.
The only difference is that in children’s and YA publishing, the author utilizes different language, changes sentence layouts, uses less complex storytelling structures, and of course mostly will write shorter manuscripts.
Everything else is just quality fiction.

BEA: 2014 and Future

In case you were thinking that publishing is gasping its last breaths, the 2014 BEA completed last week saw nearly as many attendees from the industry as in 2013. The day dedicated to readers expected nearly 10,000 additional people flock in.

Next year, the BEA will expand from the current three-day format to four. With the inclusion of self-published authors and new technologies as well as the invitation to readers to attend, it’s a phenomenal event that reflects the current strength returning to what has been an anemic industry. Good health!