Thursday, March 17, 2011

Writer's conference review

I went to the SCBWI MD/DE/WV Spring into Action Conference.


First of all it was super cheap $90 for SCBWI members  $105 for non-members. 

It was local, only 45 minutes away from my house.  And every session had something I wanted to know about.


It was awesome. 

I got there and sat down and a very awesome girl sat down next to me.  We hung out for the entire conference.

The first session was from an editor who talked about how to make your manuscript stronger.  A lot of it I already knew, but it's nice to hear it again.  You know, you confirm you're doing it right.

Then I had my one on one session with Laura Bowers, she's an author and SUPER Awesome.  Her feedback was detailed, insightful and most important, USEFUL.   Laura has been updated the SCBWI MD/DE/WV and it's one of the best resources out there.  Go check it out.

The next session was a break out session.  There were sessions for Picture Books, Middle Grade, Illustrators and Young Adults.  I went to the young adult session, also by Laura Bowers. 

Then I went to lunch and met more awesome people.  You know what the best part of conference? Being in a room with lots of people who write YA and like all the same stuff you like.   Did you know people like that existed OUTSIDE of the internet? 

Then we went to a lecture by Kathi Appelt. It was SO moving, I cried twice.  She talked about writing like your fingers were on fire. She simultaneously inspired me and shamed me.  Her advice included:

Find the seeds of stories that are in your own life.

  • Write to the hole in your heart.
  • Keep a journal --- keep a journal for each project
  • Write stories that bind:  Take care with your stories, make the significant.
  • "Write consciously with the subconscious voices of the writers who came before us."- Eudora Welty
  • Write I say for those who came before us. Honor them by not forgetting.
  • Children are priority.
  • Write what scares you.
  • Write what you think you can’t.
  • Write your own story as true as you can.
  • Look for the magic.

She was so inspriring and smart... and my book has dick jokes.  Sigh. And honestly, I think it needs MORE dick jokes.

The next session, was the day in the life of a children book editor.  She explained why it takes six months to read your submissions.  Yeah, um,  her life is INSANE, its a wonder why ANY BOOK gets published. 
The last session was how to write a good query.  By an agent who repped a little know book about games where everyone is really hungry and 3 pages about to the main character's sister's goat.

Every session I learned something.  The people were awesome.   

If you get a chance, go to a conference.  It's totally worth the money.


  1. you crack me up, Erinn. I don't know how you make dick jokes endearing, but you do.

  2. "She was so inspriring and smart... and my book has dick jokes. Sigh."

    ..this almost made me spit my coffee out. :D

  3. Glad you had a good time at the conference. I revert into Shy Alicia at them, which isn't good.

  4. I teared up at Kathi Appelt's session as well -- wasn't she great? I ran out and bought THE UNDERNEATH (I have a beagle, and COME ON -- how CUTE was the hound on the cover??) and KEEPER right after the session.

    Nice review!

  5. Glad you had fun at the conference. I always have fun at writing conferences. Thanks for letting us know how it was.

  6. Wow! This sounds like an amazing conference with some big names (Kathi Appelt's The Underneath is on my bedstand, waiting to be read right now). And for $90??? I just joined the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI--hope ours is as cool as yours! Thanks for sharing :)

  7. I love SCBWI conferences. Like you, one of my favorite parts is being in a room with other children's book writers. It's such a great feeling. Glad you had fun!