I jumped a plane in Sydney bound for Singapore on Tuesday evening and 8 and a smidge hours later, (squashed, cramped and cold but thankfully with an empty seat beside me) I arrived in Singapore ready to roll out for the seventh instalment of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content.
After a short and restless sleep it was breakfast and who do I meet? None other than Evi Shelvia. I last saw Evi in Bologna just a few weeks ago so we chatted a while over coffee and breakfast treats as I also poured over her glorious sketch books and then halted at the illustrations of the Bologna Piazzas and via del Indipendenza. Illustrators – argh – so talented!!!!
via del Indipendenza
And it really has been a time of networking and meeting friends. Hello to the delightful Cynthia Leitich-Smith (I have written a few articles for Cynsations and we have swapped emails very many times but this is our first face-to-face), Holly Thompson and Nury Vittachi. We try and catch up with Nury when in Hong Kong but often our schedules collide and Nury is jaunting off to some glamorous location around the globe speaking at yet another conference.
Lunch was a feeding with the very many SCBWI crew who are attending the festival at a circle of chairs … as often happens there are many Aussies here but it was super seeing the others from nearby countries as well. There is much networking being initiated throughout the festival – hello David Liew whose superb new title has been commissioned by the National Book Trust here in Singapore.
This afternoon for me was a moderating session – a First Pages session, SCBWI style. I was moderator and so let the kind and very considerate panelists share their thoughts which is just as well for those who had submitted their first 100 words because I am more brutal I think (when required)! I did though get to not only introduce the panelists but to read aloud to the gathered throng the submitted words. My classroom teaching reading skills came to the podium! My takeaway thoughts from the panelists are:
know your audience;
voice is critical;
rhythm has to be – rhythmical;
know what they will read;
think of the words that you are writing. Ask yourself “will a child really use/understand/say that?”
have strong first lines – hook the reader immediately;
use strong language – why include pretty when you are already describing the colours of an object;
those extra words for padding – chop them out;
is it a story or just a slice of life?
The AFCC Awards night capped off day one. There were a few speeches (about four mother tongues and the language publishing scene in Singapore), oodles of food, and much more networking as well.
… Finally, then I was able to crawl back to the hotel and go, to, zzzzzzz.
More on the Carolinas later but Pam Vaughan (official photographer for the New England conference last weekend) has just sent me oodles and poodles of photos … so if you don’t want to see piccies of me in action – then look away now! There are photos of me with friends, of me panelling, photos […]