This past Saturday, our MD/DE/WV region held it’s very first event in West Virginia and received a rousing response from our WV members (and a couple from just across the river in KY and OH). Taylor Books (a delightful indie bookstore in Charleston) hosted our group in their gallery annex and catered a delicious lunch.
We were lucky to have three well-loved West Virginia authors as our speakers: Anna Egan Smucker, Marc Harshman, and Sarah Sullivan.
Anna Smucker started our day off with her presentation: “From steel mills to little birds, lighthouses to Irish castles, story ideas are everywhere.” Anna’s overview of her diverse stories for children included a slide presentation that traced the path of her newest book, GOLDEN DELICIOUS: A CINDERELLA APPLE STORY, from its inspiration to publication.
Marc Harshman’s engaging session traced the path that led to the publication of his first picture book, A LITTLE EXCITEMENT, and beyond to his numerous other titles. Then both Anna and Marc talked about their collaboration process and how it led to their co-authored book, FALLINGWATER, forthcoming from Roaring Brook Press.
After a delicious lunch of quiche, pasta salad, and scrumptious brownies and lemon bars, Sarah Sullivan presented her session, “Hitting All The Right Notes–Structuring a Picture Book.” All the books tell you that picture books need to be under 1,000 words. How do you hone your manuscript down to so few words? What do you keep? What do you lose? Remembering that “limitations encourage creativity,” how do you decide which words will convey the essence of your story? Using examples from her own work, as well as others, Sarah talked about the process of creating a picture book text from initial idea to completed manuscript. Sarah’s most recent picture book, PASSING THE MUSIC DOWN (Candlewick Press) was released this week!
Our day concluded with a short workshop entitled “Read As a Writer To Improve Your Own Writing” presented by Co-RA Edie Hemingway and then some time to brainstorm ideas for growing the SCBWI presence in West Virginia. Attendees, Linda Hozdic, Laura O. Reed, and Carol Brodtrick graciously offered to help coordinate future events.
Thank you to all our attendees and, especially to our speakers, Anna, Marc, and Sarah, for making this event such a success!
Stay tuned for details about our July “Staying On Track” weekend. Brochures went out in today’s mail!