Thanks for joining us today, Sue! What are some success stories from SCBWI conferences that have to do with writers having an “aha” moment?
A mighty example comes from our own MD/DE/WV region and is in the current SCBWI bulletin. Augusta Scattergood tells how her critique with agent Linda Pratt in 2008 started a relationship that eventually led to the publication of her novel Glory Be. Read it - you'll also see how many years, conferences, submissions, and other experiences came before this aha moment.
I don't know anyone who has had such a big AHA - yet. But everyone I know who has participated in critiques has come away with a new view of their work. We already know what we think - the only way to get other people's ideas is to ask for them. I bet you will find out something you never thought of, or would only have come to after a long time of experimenting and learning on your own. It's worth whatever hurt feelings or disappointment hearing the criticism may temporarily cause you.
My first critique with an agent at a regional conference was a huge eye-opener, and I definitely recommend the professional critique experience to fellow writers. What can writers do between conferences? Any resources you recommend in particular?
Must-reads are three books from my bookshelf - Save the Cat Two (aka Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter's Guide to Every Story Ever Told) by Blake Snyder, Martha Alderson's The Plot Whisperer Workbook, and Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul. I've not taken Writer's Digest University or Institute of Children's Literature courses, but have heard many good things.
Doing improv and other techniques from theater really work well for some people. There's a learning challenge out there that suits your style, budget, and schedule – AND leaves times for your writing and drawing.
When I first started out, reading Paul’s book saved me from so much trial and error! I’ll have to check out the other two books. Back to conferences for a moment, who have been some of your favorite speakers?
No surprises here. Editors and agents are the best for telling you straight up what they are looking for, often with helpful checklists. There are many who are great - your regional committee is in constant contact with peers around the nation, so you can bet the speakers at your next conference will be terrific.
That said, you'll never forget the writers and artists you hear. Off the top of my head, Deborah Wiles, E. B. Lewis, Kathi Appelt, and Bobbie Pyron are among the many regional conference speakers who blew me away. Their honesty in talking about the struggles, emotions, and dreams as artists and as people is inspiring. They bring the power of words to life.
Come see what I mean at the next MD/DE/WV conference March 29!
Thank you for stopping by at The Corner, Sue, and I look forward to seeing you soon at the upcoming SCBWI New York conference!