Dad's Good Day ~ A Blog

author/illustrator Fred Koehler

Darth Vader on Prom Night and Hot Tubs - An SCBWI LA 2013 Recap

Back from LA and still processing the awesomeness that was the SCBWI 2013 Summer Conference. If perhaps my inspiration tank had been a little low before I headed out, it’s now filled to the brim and I’m ready to tackle just about anything.

You wanna know why? Let me tell you.

Laurie Halse Anderson kicked off the first keynote by reminding us where stories originated. It wasn’t to teach lessons. It wasn’t to entertain or to get kids to fall asleep. It was around the campfire in a nighttime world with no light… keeping away the darkness.


Makes you feel kinda like a superhero, no?

We learned about the


and were reminded to


Oh yeah, and then there was this…


I believe.

Mac Barnett and John Sciezka gave us about a billion examples of how


I hope I have half as many good ideas in my lifetime as these two have on a Saturday evening.

Mike Jung and Arthur Levine did a ukulele duet. Incredible as it was, Mike one-upped his own performance with an insightful look at the craft of Science Fiction writing.

Superagent Steven Malk cued us in to his philosophy on


of an author’s career. Great insights with my favorite being the emphasis on mapping out your individual priorities. For those of you who care, mine include Having Lots of Fun, Traveling, and Making Kids Smile.

And then Supereditor Andrea Pinkney talked to us about groundbreaking, genre-crossing


She also helped us answer the question


and the difference between a hit and a book that’s evergreen.

John Corey Whaley and Namrata Tripathi shared insights into


and the fact that your second book is likely going to be more challenging than your first.

We had a super-groovy


where we talked about personal brand and how we each need to strive to be awesomer than before.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka taught us that words and pictures are jealous lovers, how to climb story mountain, and that if it’s easy for your character, it’s boring for your reader. He also closed the conference with a tear-inducing keynote, and if you haven’t seen his TED talk, you need to.

Add to all that good friends, dressing up like “Prom Night Darth Vader,” hot tubs, and dancing till my back gave out, and you’ve got a legit conference.


Sorry to all the people who wanted to chat but I didn’t get to connect with. Next time for sure!

Till then, love each other!


  • 6 August 2013