There were a TON of key notes that all authors/writers can really benefit. The workshop had a Middle Grade-Young Adult edge to it, so there wasn't a lot of focus on the Picture Book writing, but I can see how I could apply the advice to my personal writings. Some of the key points addressed:
- Write, write, write, write and then write some more.
- READ! <-- Pretend that was shouted. Read everything you can get your hands on... specifically works from your genre.
- Read it, even if you think/have heard it's going to be crap. LEARN from that writer's mistakes.
- Uh, re-write... a lot.
- Critique groups are necessary; start one or one! You need someone other than your mother/friends/coworkers/etc. playing the editor's eyes and giving you concrete criticism. <-- This is actually a big bullet point to took away from the "Overcoming Obstacles" panel I attended about 3 weeks ago.
The bullets here barely graze all my notes. The majority of what took away from this workshop was specifically about dealing with dialog. This is most certainly something I need to work on. Outside of High School, I have limited practice with writing classes, so dialog isn't an area in which I am formally trained. I walked (or rather drove,) away from the workshop intrigued with some of the notes I picked up that day.
The 12+ pages of chicken scratch I cart around now will receive some more note friends in a couple months: SCBWI Annual Winter Conference is just around the corner. I'm all signed up and eager to learn some more. That will require a new notebook.