Saturday, April 12, 2008

Live-Blogging From Nashua: Laurie Halse Anderson

Here I am in the ballroom of the Crowne Hotel in Nashua (9 a.m.), waiting to hear NESCBWI's keynote speaker for our annual conference. The place is packed with 500 eager writers and illustrators -- a more diverse crowd than in years past, but still mostly white, middle-aged, and female.

Conference director Francine Puckley is introducing the cadre of hard workers who pull off this huge conference. I'm sitting next to authors Tanya Lee Stone (A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl) and Sarah Aronson (Head Case), who are BFFs, and trying not to miss MY writing buddy, author Karen Day (Tall Tales).

During the intro to Laurie Halse Anderson, we learn that her new YA/MG novel Chains is due out in October.

Laurie starts by showing us her tattoo, and tells us to get one in order to "frustrate the fifteen-year-olds in America." Her tattoo is the first word in Beowulf, which basically means "LISTEN TO MY STORY."

After hundreds of rejections and years, it dawned on her that she needed help, and she did the most significant thing in her writing life: she joined SCBWI. Eventually, she started getting personalized, "quality rejections." Next came phone calls.

"If you're not published yet, you are simply 'pre-published,'" she tells us.

Laurie's talk is about five keys to becoming a writer: time, space, art, craft, and permission. The session is inspiring for wannabes, newbies, and burned-out oldies alike. Applause, and we're done.

My next update will be at 2:40, when I live-blog Leda Schubert's session "World-Building: Bringing Fantasy to Life," followed by Kevin Hawkes' closing keynote address starting at 3:50. Now I'm off to my own session!

5 comments:

Greg R. Fishbone said...

Thanks Mitali. Your session was great too.

BJNewman said...

Oh, thanks so much , Mitali! I could not be there this weekend, but I am loving my virtual conference thanks to you. I heard Laurie at Whispering Pines last year and I am so glad that you are sharing her wisdom with us. It is reinforcing everything I needed to remember. I'll check up later this afternoon. Can't wait!!

Carol said...

Mitali, you not only gave an incredible synopsis of a wonderful day, but you gave an amazing session that will help all who attended. Your energy and dedication to your craft is inspiring! Thanks.

Mitali Perkins said...

Thanks, all. As some of you know, I over-blogged, was convicted that I put too much intellectual property out there (property that didn't belong to me!), so I've since significantly edited down these posts.

I'd love to find out more about the legal guidelines related to taking and posting descriptions of speeches, lectures, radio interviews, television talk-shows, etc. It's probably the same as with poetry and other intellectual property -- you can't snatch the heart and soul of somebody's creation. But what can you post, then?

tem2 said...

Intellectual property in cyberspace... that would be a great topic for a conference workshop, wouldn't it?

Basically, speakers (as well as authors and illustrators) have a recognized "bundle of rights" in their works that includes the exclusive right to create derivative works, the exclusive right to stage a dramatic performance of the work, and the exclusive right to publish and distribute the work. There are many more rights in the bundle but some are more commonly used than others--for example, I don't think Laurie Halse Anderson is likely to use her exclusive right to turn her keynote address into a theme park attraction, but you never know.

For folks in the audience, the law recognizes "fair use" exceptions allowing us to excerpt small portions of a presenter's work for review, news reporting, to offer criticism, for education or instructional purposes, to create a parody, and other reasons like that.

There's no set rule on how much of a work you can use but less is always better. One criteria is whether you are making a profit, including Google Ads a blogger might be using. Another criteria is whether you are harming the copyright holder's market for her works--and that's the important one here. Workshop presenters and keynote speakers often reuse their material at other events or turn them into articles and such. If that material becomes easily available on the web, it may devalue the presentation and hurt the speaker's chances to present at another venue.

So it's really more a matter common courtesy and common sense rather than purely one of intellectual property.

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