New England SCBWI Conference

Jo Knowles and my workshop (“Writing Camp for Adults”) at the conference went very well. Our campers arrived and were treated to bug juice and s’mores and then we did exercises that have been particularly successful at writing camp. People shared some excellent writing and seemed to get lots of ideas. Many people stopped us afterwards to say how much fun they had. We hope they fill out the evaluations!

Saturday morning Sara Zarr gave a keynote that connected a Frog and Toad book with what it’s like to be a writer. It was excellent. She showed us through the story how it’s good to have a plan but be flexible, and how if things are not going as planned, it doesn’t mean you’re failing. It was a great way to look both at life as a writer and at a character’s life.

At lunchtime, Kate Messner gave a talk about what it was like to speak at the TED talks along with her talk about creating worlds. She has so much faith in kids which came through in every part of her talk. Check out her new website kid-sourcing.com for ideas of how kids can get involved in the world right now.

I attended three workshops. The first was a panel on author/agent relationships and covered the usual questions. I went to that because I’d like to be on a similar panel someday. The next was a panel about quiet novels which I attended because my VC crit group partner, Erin Moulton was on it. She (and the others on the panel) did a great job presenting and answering questions about quiet novels. The workshop “Add Depth and Emotion to Your YA Novel” given by Jo Knowles and Sarah Darer Littman got people exploring and writing about a sensory image or object from their childhood, but turning it into fiction. I got a new scene for my work-in-progress from that workshop. And, finally, I attended Cinda Williams Chima’s workshop on “Building Believable Magical Worlds” where I jotted down lots of questions to answer as I create worlds based in reality.

The best thing about the conference is the chance to spend time with lots of other writers, editors, agents, etc. I loved the meals where I was able to talk to old friends and make new ones. Evenings found people moving from one cluster to another, talking, talking, talking about writing and books. I talked with people on the stairs, in line at registration, in the elevators, everywhere. It was a great weekend!

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