I'm just home from participating in a conference run by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Netherlandic Studies, and though I'd like to tell you about it, I'm going to do alittle blog entry instead about the conference I was at yesterday.

It was the first day of workshops ever offered by YesOuiCANSCAIP, a Montreal chapter of a national organization for children's writers, illustrators and performers. I particpated in a panel about breaking into YA fiction, but I spent most of the day listening to other people discuss their work. The day opened with a talk by Shelley Tanaka, fiction editor at Groundwood Books. Shelley had lots of interesting things to tell us about the industry. Here's part of what said about YA books: "Increasingly, anything goes in YA. But these books still need some measure of hope. In general, YA books do not end in despair, or even acceptance." Shelley urges writers to ask these questions about our stories: What does the main character want? What is the main character's problem? What is stopping the main character from getting what he or she wants? What's the crisis point? And, how does the main character change? 

If you're wondering who that woman with me in today's pic is, it's Vermont YA author Tanya Lee Stone. Tanya has written both non-fiction and fiction for kids and teens and I've just started reading her YA verse novel A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl. Great title, no? I'd like to tell you more, but guess what? Our dinner guests just turned up an hour early. One of them is a well-known Dutch author named Rudi Wester... so I should have lots to tell you about tomorrow!!IMG_1616.jpg