From Hook to Book

Archive for the tag “SCBWI Victoria”

And that’s a wrap!

p1030466-fab-scbwi-speakers-12-11-16On Saturday November 12 SCBWI Vic enjoyed a fabulous end of year meeting and wrap party to close what has been a busy, enjoyable and creative SCBWI year.

p1030433-show-and-tellWe began with our usual Show and Tell session celebrating six member successes and new publications. This session is always so inspiring as it often reveals the backgrounds of new publications and the serendipitous and innovative ways some creators bring their work to attention of publishers, the industry etc.

p1030445-marjory-gardnerOur first speaker, the lovely and talented Marjory Gardner, revealed how Flexibility (and saying ‘Yes,’) is Key to this industry and to a number of her successes and experiences, such as flying around the Pilbara and judging competitions. ‘Often when you say yes to one thing it serendipitously leads on to other things.’

Marjory shared her journey over thirty years from her beginning illustrating educational readers to trade publications, using her love of pattern and colour and filling up the page. The same principles she uses in her gorgeous, colourful illustrations today.

p1030451-ann-jamesAnn James, beloved narrative artist of over 60 books including Little Humpty, Lucy Goosey and The Way I Love You, showed us how Illustration is a Catalyst to Story. For Ann collecting and DIY is very important. She was encouraged as a child to play, build and make. Poor eyesight as a child led her to really look at things. Ann seeks inspiration in other illustrator’s work too, rendering beautiful images that really show colours, textures and shapes. Ann shared some of her process and the wonderful, varied experiences that art has brought to her life and work. Her tactile way of working generates ideas, including through illustrating and creating clay characters.

Of course next, we indulged in our usual delicious afternoon tea and all important tete-a-tete, networking chat time, catching-up with friends and meeting some new ones among our constantly growing membership.

p1030464-leigh-hobbsWe were then privileged to hear from charming and entertaining artist, Leigh Hobbs, our current Australian Children’s Laureate, who revealed ‘everything to do with my work is to do with character.’ He also shared the secret to Old Tom’s origins, not the version he tells kids. An ex-secondary school teacher, Leigh said that teaching has provided him with a lifetime of ideas. He doesn’t write for kids but for himself. He believes in kid’s logic.

Leigh kept us laughing with his humorous anecdotes, his delightful, self-effacing, manner and sincere honesty regarding his process and love of combining art with literature. I loved his closing sentence, ‘In your heart, those special kids/moments are what keep you going.’

scbwi-vic-xmas-party-2016We rounded off a fantastic afternoon and year by adjourning to Father’s Office Speakeasy Bar & Restaurant for Christmas drinks and more network chat and socialising. (Plus some yummy finger food. Thanks, Caz Goodwin.)

scbwi-vic-xmas-party-2After our SCBWI Vic planning meeting today, we have a really exciting program emerging for 2017. Lots of great industry and member speakers and a really great program. Stay tuned, dates and more info will be revealed in the New Year.

Story Sparks!

A first kiss in a park, so many years ago…

Memories are infinite and some we don’t share. Others may be transient or we think gone. Until a prompt restores them and they return vividly – kindly, harshly, surprisingly, horrifyingly, romantically. Not necessarily for real or true – after all they were so long ago.

P1020554 Simmone Howell Workshop Chris BellCreativity of thought can come spasmodically or constantly to creatives. Often a whiff, a sniff, a song, a colour, a hint of weather and we’re off – into imagination. Other times we fear the launchpad of those smells, sounds, vivid recalls will never return.

P1020564 Simmone HowellUnless… inspired by a gathering of like minds at SCBWI Vic’s Creativity Workshop and author/facilitator Simmone Howell. Simmone opened a floodgate of memories for me. Particularly in our final session on childhood memory. Not an illustrator, by any stretch, I created a visual map of my childhood – the Saturday afternoon Mr Whippy treats, the make-believe of two sisters creating older personas and the long forgotten Jenny Bigger. An epic James Bond drive-in fest accompanying a dad who had no son as yet to share such masculine movies. (Loved them!) An illicit ciggie in the park, playing truant from Sunday Mass. Sandy sandwiches and a back sticking to the sweaty seat of a station wagon, counting the colours of cars on the way to Chelsea beach. There seemed more colours back then.

P1020558 Simmone Howell ParticipantsMost importantly I found a way into an upcoming scene and tricky turning point in my new YA novel, as well as an enjoyable and inspiring gathering of like-minds and creators in SCBWI. Who said writing/illustrating is a solitary occupation? It can be positively inspirational in a room crowded with like-minds and scintillating story sparks.

Inside Story – Melbourne

Inside Story Melbourne 2014 logo

What a joy it is to be a part of the children’s writing community and attend such wonderful events as the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Inside Story!

Inside Story Melbourne

Kim Fleming Inside Story MelbourneSaturday (1st Nov) saw eleven authors and author/illustrators gather at Readings Bookshop – Hawthorn to share insights into the creation and genesis behind their books and book app. It proved a fascinating afternoon where I learnt many things, not least from author/illustrator Renée Treml who explained how (common) wombats have square poo. Why? So it won’t roll away, of course.

Goldie Alexander Inside Story MelbourneCorinne Fenton Inside Story Melbourne

Speakers shared how stories came about serendipitously, through a 2-year-old asking the not so simple question “How far is up?”, through lived personal experiences, a sibling suggesting “Frankie Dupont would make a great name for a detective” and an adolescent obsession for Choose your own adventure stories that sparked a series, giving the author “an excuse to relive his childhood”.

I was delighted to be asked to assist in drawing the door prize, especially hearing the very excited squeal of the owner of ticket A37 who won the fantastic SodaStream prize.



 

 

 

Betty Sargeant Inside Story Melbourne

Special thanks to the Inside Story committee Jo Burnell, Victoria Thieberger and Laura Wilson for hosting and organising such a wonderful event. Thank you also to all the very talented authors and illustrators of Inside Story – Melbourne 2014 for sharing, presenting and for their generous donations to the book door prize (in order of appearance) Kim Fleming, Renée Treml, Betty Sargeant, Jackie Hosking, Corinne Fenton, Victoria Thieberger, Alison Reynolds, Kayleen West, Julie Grasso, George Ivanoff, Pauline Luke and Goldie Alexander.

Inside Story Authors and Illustrators Melbourne 2014SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand logo

SCBWI Australia NZ Conference 2014

What a crazy, busy few weeks, but I can’t let them pass without mention of attending the fantastic SCBWI Australia NZ Conference in Sydney July 13-15th.

SCBWI VicSome of the wonderful crew from SCBWI Vic (Photograph courtesy Dimity Powell)

 What an amazing gathering of creators, publishers and industry professionals all communing and exchanging ideas, knowledge and inspiration. All brought together by our amazing SCBWI Regional Advisor and leader Susanne Gervay and her incredible team over three days at the gorgeous Hughenden Hotel in a packed program of publisher info sessions, pitches, book launches and insights into the international market.

SCBWI delegates at SCBWI 2014 including moi

Despite Jetstar’s best efforts to keep me (and a couple of colleagues) from the opening day and changing my return flight (again!), insisting I leave before the close, I enjoyed a wonderful couple of days and came home recharged and inspired. Who could not be seeing the wonderful, diverse works being produced out there in the kid lit world and wanting to be part of it?

Here’s a few reflections I shared on Twitter @chrisbellwrites on gems gathered.

  • Louise Park Publisher Paddlepop Press “Don’t orphan your product – it needs you.”
  • Lisa Berryman Assoc Publisher @HarperCollinsAU “Poignancy can make a book a classic.”
  • @Zoe_Walton Publisher Children’s &YA Random House sub advice “no marketing manifesto, we have a team to do that.”
  • Bruce Whatley deletes all illust notes “illlustrator needs to find their own visual narrative.”
  •  Louise Park Publisher Paddlepop Press “If you’ve got a top product – leverage – write three more.”
  •  @Zoe_Walton Children’s & YA Publisher Random House “Never underestimate the value of food in kid’s books.”
  • “Historical fiction with a genre twist can sell.”
  • @MissConnieH Connie Hsu Commissioning Editor Roaring Brook Press “Character driven picture books still reign supreme.”
  • Karen Tayleur Five Mile Press poss rej reason “nothing special to lift it to top of pile”.

Bruce Whatley session Twitter

Lisa Berryman Children’s Publisher Harper Collins introducing the amazing Bruce Whatley

 

 

 

 

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