“The More Things Change …” by Benjamin LeRoy (respected publisher–Tyrus Books–and one of Publisher’s Weekly to “50 Under 40”)
–No matter what the current trends are, the one thing that never changes is a writer’s dedication to the craft.
–The goal should be to create something that lasts, surviving all the trends.
–The center of publishing power and activity is not, after all, in Manhattan, because real life occurs everywhere else, especially in small town/rural America.
–As writers and publishers, the best and most powerful stories are about regular people sometimes living through extraordinary circumstances–and we should be telling those stories with empathy, quiet and civil voices, and respect for each and every individual.
–There are lots of compelling stories about everyday people living through extraordinary circumstances, but those stories are not being told due to all the push for fantasy, vampires, and high-action events. The movement is on to bring those trends to a close.
–Make your stories real about real people.
Note from Cheri: My comment here is that this speech/fellow touches on the whole subject of character-driven versus high action and the pickle authors can get themselves into by writing to trends. By the time the writer finishes the book and starts pitching, the trend will either be over or on the way out. So, focus on the craft–which is a constant–and think about writing stories with longevity that aren’t tied to a trend. He’s also obviously trying to push for a return to high quality character-driven stories, and apparently his publishing company (Tyrus Books) looks for those sorts of submissions. He’s definitely in the minority–but he offers writers like me a glimmer of hope.
Okay … conference is over! And what a great weekend! Maybe next year a bunch of us could all attend together.
Meanwhile, GO JETS!!!