On Saturday, October 9, 2010, Susan Chang, Senior Editor at Tor, spoke to our group. This was her second SCBWI conference. There was much she shared in the ninety minutes. This is a brief summary.
Susan continues to be fascinated with the publishing process, after eighteen years in it, the last seven years at Tor. Tom Dorety formed Tor in 1980. In 2002, Starscape was started fo 8-12 year old readers. In 2003, TorTeen was stated for 13-19 year old readers.
Twelve years old is the reader age when science fiction/ fantasy reading starts. This, of course, does not include fantasy of talking animals, etc in picture books.
Not every editor is the right match for a good story.
Agents are looking for you. But… if you query fifty agents and receive all rejects, take a step back. Writing needs to sparkle. Ideas are easy to come up with. Susan added, “I don’t write because it’s too damn hard.”
Good SF/F writing has action and suspense with strong, flawed characters.
Two books she suggested reading are DEAR GENIUS and SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS.
After our primary needs, the need for story is very basic. Book have the ability to change lives.