From, Kathy Dawson's (Dial Books) breakout session:
- Write what you don't know.
- Write something you'd want to know.
- Write about something that happened to you as a kid.
- What do you wonder about?
- Details should advance plot or reveal something about the character.
She looks for the gasp factor and for truth.
The story should have ARIA. Action, rhythm, intrigue, adventure.
She says the picture book market has been hit the hardest in this economic climate. She likes 1st person. Profanity in a story is okay.
From Michelle Nagler (Bloomsbury)
She is not looking for fantasy. Debut fiction is strong at this house. Historical girl books have done well. Picture books should be strong and bold.
She looks for:
- Captivating- hook first
- Realism of character voice
- Hooks like, BOYS ARE DOGS
What she is NOT looking for:
- High fantasy
- Quiet literary
- Early readers
- Anything close to curriculum
Her wish list:
- Books with mystery elements
- Fast paced
- Chapter book series
- Contemporary middle grade
- Edgy YA
- Big on series
What she looks for in an author:
- An author she can help develop
- An author who edits his/her work
- Someone who is open to revision
- Someone who is passionate
- Someone who is respectful
What she really likes:
- Urban fantasy
Swearing in a book is okay. Responds only if interested.
Jennifer Rees (Scholastic):
What she likes:
- Distinctive voice
- Memorable real characters
- To be kept guessing
- Out of the box
- Writing that takes risks
- Lyrical writing
She says your cover letter should read like a jacket flap. Know the market. Satisfy your inner child.
My favorite, she says to, "Write as though you're writing a love letter to yourself."
What Bruce Hall says about first lines:
- Should have humor
- Plunge in midstream
- Pose a question
He says to remind the ready of beauty. Make them laugh. Say what is forbidden. My favorite: "Hold up the mirror."
- Strong desire
- Be active
- Be flawed
- Make them squirm
- Get gross
He says, tell them the truth. Go the extra mile. Dig deeper. Take chances. Write what you love.
My favorite: "Hope triumphs over despair."