Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reflections on the SCBWI National Conference

via wikipedia
I want to sing like the birds sing,
not worrying about who hears or what they think.
― Rumi

I just got back from the SCBWI National Conference in New York City.


There was so much information to absorb. I flew home last night, exhausted. All I've been able to do today is organize my thoughts, and I'm not very far along in that task. Enter: the blog post. You, my dear bloggy friends, are my unsuspecting therapists for this session. ;)

Attending a writers conference does two things for me:

1) It gives me plenty of revision homework.


2) It injects me with creative energy. Good thing I'm not taking Rumi literally - my words are really all that sing well around this house.

If you recall, last week I posted about my two manuscripts, and which I would present to the editors for a critique. Old Kitty got her wish. (Yay!)

I read the first 500 of my MG work, Mist of Kavala, to Scholastic editor, Jenne Abramowitz. Her list includes lots of humorous middle grade fiction. While my MS is not humorous fiction, she really encouraged me by totally buying into the sci-fi premise of my story. Maybe it was the adrenaline, but I thought she was nodding her head and smiling at me like: "Go for it." The boost to my fragile writer's morale was priceless. Now, I do have to work on formatting a few things, and the rest of the story needs a thorough edit still, but I think maybe I'm on to something.

In the afternoon, I met with Kari Sutherland from HarperCollins. I read the first 500 of  my YA Fantasy, Burnt Amber. Can I just say that I've been working my butt off on this MS? I've revised, and revised, and revised again. I totally get the word RE-VISION. Apparently, the work paid off. She said BA has an authentic teen voice. I translated that to: "the voice works".  She might as well have told me I won the lottery.

So what does all this mean? Were they just being nice to me because I was sitting at the same table? Will the self-doubt never end?

Other conference highlights:
  • I met people I've only seen in thumbnails on the sidebar of a website. Puts things into perspective like nothing else, I tell you. I really want to query some of them now, and some others I don't think would be a good fit at all.
  • I attended amazing breakout sessions given by editors from important publishing houses. For example, Wendy Loggia from Delacorte gave pointers on the sensory elements she looks for in manuscripts. I love the way she thinks, especially since I dream in deckle-edge.
  • I met lots of authors. Cassandra Clare, Katherine Erskine, Chris Crutcher....there's a long list of awesome for this conference.
  • I made some new friends from the Carolinas and beyond.
Most importantly, I learned that I shouldn't give up on this dream of mine. Ever.


Sarah said...

Wow! It sounds like you had a wonderful, stimulating time! I'm so glad you got encouraging feedback, Carolyn.

Old Kitty said...

It's brilliant that you had a most wonderful conference and what great feedback for your MS!!! Now that truly is the best!! Well done you!!!

Take care

atlanticmo said...

It was so nice to meet you and Henry Winkler the other night.

Matthew MacNish said...

What wonderful encouragement! Looking forward to reading more posts about the Con.

Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like you had an amazing time at the conference! :) Awesome about the feedback you got over your works.

Southpaw said...

Ha! I never thought about what it would be like to see a little sidebar head in person. :)

It sounds like you got go great feedback, but oh my goodness,how scary to read it aloud. Yipes. Call me a chicken.

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks for sharing the experience with us! I'd love to go to a writers' conference soon - hoping I can maybe make the one in Surrey in October...

LTM said...

and that's the most valuable thing ever! I'm so psyched you had such a great time. And I'm so happy-jealous you got to go. Now what's deckle-edge... :D <3 said...

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