Friday, April 19, 2013

CONFERENCE 2013: And we're off!

If you aren't one of those who braved the rain, wind, and closure of 520 Eastbound, then you're still going to get a peek inside this year's annual conference.

And, after a day of master classes and roundtables, the verdict is: THUMBS UP. WAY, WAY UP!!!

I will be receiving and posting updates throughout the weekend, so enjoy the vicarious thrills. And hopefully they'll convince you that this is THE place to be next year!

Master Class: Revision, "Intuitive Revising" with Kendra Levin
(posted by Rebecca Van Slyke)

Kendra Levin, senior editor at Viking Children's Books, talked about finding the motivation of your characters. She led us in several exercises that enabled us to distill our story in a one-sentence summary, then fleshing it out into a descriptive paragraph. She encouraged us to ask Building Block Questions, like "What is the ticking clock in your story?" She talked about the value of outlining, either formally or loosely. The final step is only for the truly brave writer: Rewrite your manuscript! So much may have changed that sometimes it's easier to begin fresh.

And now, for an inside look at the Illustrators 
(by Dana Sullivan)

"Keeping It Fresh" a Master Class with Patti Ann Harris


feedback from Sophie Blackall

Roundtable Roundup, aka Ten Minutes of Glory (or Ten Minutes of Youch, That Smarts, But I'm Better for the Experience)
(by Emily Russin)

This year, instead of one-on-one feedback sessions, we tried something new: roundtables not unlike the Great Critique format, where groups of about ten writers in similar genres come together and take ten minutes to read and hear feedback from the agent/editor/writer leader at their table. From the general chatter in the hallways between and after these hour-and-a-half sessions, there were two main takeaways:
1. The quality of individual submissions (500 words, max) was extremely high. Go, us!
2. The agent/editor/writer/publisher feedback was sharp, spot-on, and couched with constructive comments that made you want to go away and work even harder. (I even watched as two folks in my group got asked to submit full manuscripts to editors! Talk about getting the most out of the weekend on the very first day!)

The group dynamics were supportive and also inviting. No one's comments were taken the wrong way, and everyone seemed to benefit in one way or another, whether it was hearing their work read by another group member, or hearing that they wrote with too-long sentences (guilty as charged!).

Needless to say, this format seems to have been a success, and the instant and savvy reactions of the experts at the tables were worth the experience.

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