Friday, May 1, 2009

The Friday Temptation: LA SCBWI 2009

The Friday Temptation: LA SCBWI 2009

If you’ve never been to a National SCBWI Conference, you’re seriously missing out! They have everything there—writers, artists, fire-breathers…. Okay. I’m kidding about the fire-breathers (although I’m sure you can find a dragon book or two there). But the conferences do hold tons of fun, information and inspiration. Don’t believe me? Well, I’m here to provide The Friday Temptation. Ways to convince you to come visit us at this year’s LA SCBWI 2009!

But don’t just rely on my opinion. Here are some actual first timers that recently attended their FIRST conference!

Dan Flannery, writer

I put so much energy into the concept for my book, but I needed an outside perspective to know how take it further. It’s easy to love your own writing and ideas, but falling in love with what you do isn’t exactly the best way to improve your craft. Firsthand, honest feedback from editors in the field is a rare resource, and I learned that the best thing for my book was to change the format from a picture book to a short chapter book. The SCBWI conference succeeded in walking the fine line between harsh realities and inspiring speeches, and by the end I was feeling confident in my ability to tackle the once daunting task of completing my first chapter book. Perhaps more importantly, I met some fantastic authors, illustrators, agents, and editors, and now I actually have somewhere to send my manuscript when it is done!

Sophia Sciacca, writer

The SCBWI National Conference was electric! Chatting with others generated synergy connecting like souls and kindred spirits, united by a hunger for self-expression and desire to learn. Everyone was supportive, and from all walks of life. We are parents, teachers, single, married, retired, professionals, all armed with imagination. Workshop Sessions and the Agents’ Panel provided an education on the nuts and bolts of the business. I listened intently as editors stated what stands out to them in manuscripts, answered questions, and shared insights from their side of the desk. If I could bottle the good vibes and high-as-a-kite feeling I left with, I would!

Danielle Youngblood, writer

I attended the SCBWI National Conference because I was sure the editor at my table would be impressed and blown away by my picture book. However, the feedback offered was totally contrary, and made me transparent as a writer. The reality was that this piece just wasn’t good enough for publication—yet. So my ego pulled a chair up beside me and whispered into my ear, “Now what?”

While the conference did not offer me the instant gratification of winning the “literary lottery,” it helped to rewire my thinking. Instead of approaching the conference with the expectation of being published, I wanted to leave with knowledge as to how to become a better writer, pure and simple. The conference was indeed a watershed moment, a challenge. I am truly excited about my future endeavors, and I can’t wait to bring my new writing to future conferences, armed with improved skills and knowledge.

Now I swear, I did not pay them for that. In fact, I hope they are self-Googling right now so that they can see their names up in lights (of computer screens).

Thank you Dan, Sophia and Danielle for sharing your stories!! Who’s next? I need some more fresh perspectives….. REGISTRATION BEGINS MAY 5th!!!!!!!



Martha Flynn said...

I'll be expecting that high as a kite feeling!

I already bought in so you don't need to tempt me, but a couple of pictures of the aforementioned (on Verla's) cupcakes wouldn't hurt.

Christina Farley said...

Oh I had such a fabulous time last year. It really changed my idea of who I am as a writer. Wish I could go this year....

Heather Hansen said...

I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cynthea said...

Rock on, Suzanne!

Laini Taylor said...

Aw, Suz, you're makin' me jealous. Obviously I can't go this year! I second you in shouting out to all writers and illustrators trying to break into children's books that it's a MUST. My first year I was like the last woman's testimonial, hoping/expecting to have instant gratification/road to success yadda yadda. Which I did not get. What I got instead was my eyes opened, and the beginning of learning how to get where I wanted. Several years (and conferences) later, I did sell my first book, and never would have without the LA conference!

(Looking forward to Seattle, though. So soon!!)

holly cupala said...

After attending something like fifteen SCBWI conferences, the wildly unthinkable happened - I met my agent at the Writer's Intensive in NYC, and I never leave an SCBWI conference without a novel idea. So let me know if you need another conference story!

Amy Baskin said...

I'm there! I'm a newbie, though. I just joined SCBWI this spring, so I'll be depending upon the kindness of strangers and the unmet friends.

Tara said...

Thanks for the interview. I wish I could be there. Maybe next year.