Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ks SCBWI Conference Year 2

So I went to the Kansas Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference last Friday night and all day Saturday. I went last year as well, and my brain just about burst with all the new information. I wondered idly if, now that I was savvy and dug in, if I would feel the same way about Year 2.

Yep. Only this time, I found I was learning less "new stuff" about genres, agents, hooks, dialogue and all (not that there isn't a lot more to learn) but that there was room in my head for people. The networking! Last year was a blur of business cards. This year, familiar faces. Fun at the hors d'oeuvres table. Remembering names, at long last.

And I'm happy to report that our regional writers write a LOT!

I have ordered four books from Kansas/Missouri writers at the conference and will post them here once I've read them.

In the meantime, I leave you with this utterly unrelated tidbit, from the grocery store last night, which I should title: You're Not a Biology Major, Are You?

Grocery store checkout guy: [blowing nose, copiously, and at length]
Me: [quietly dismayed, putting groceries on the conveyor belt]
Grocery store checkout guy: [finishes with that tissue, and, dear god, picks up another, and repeats the grisly process then wads up second tissue, and reaches for my keys to scan my barcode]: How are you this evening?
Me: Oh, I'll be fine if you use hand sanitizer now.
Grocery store checkout guy: [freezes in mid-reach, and then looks offended. Makes a great show of asking the other checkout guys and gals if they have hand sanitizer. While using it says in mildly accusatory tone]: I think it's just allergies.


  1. Oh yuck! What a gross dude. It doesn't matter if it's allergies or not. That's just nasty.

    I'm glad that you had a great time at the conference, though. I have been contemplating trying a writer's conference in San Francisco. Gotta do some research and see what is coming up. Do you have any opinion on those conferences that charge a bunch to read your manuscript and give you feedback? (Like 250 dollars, which considering my book is 500 pages, isn't really that expensive.) I have contemplated that, but not sure if I want to shell out the dough since we're always struggling. But I do get my first paycheck from school in five days. And that will be a decent chunk of change. hmmm... thoughts??

  2. Fie: Writer's conference! They are wonderful things. If they'll read an entire ms for 250 that's a bargain. I haven't done that, but individual critiques with SCBWI are around 35 dollars, for 10 minutes (and 5-700 words) so it is an expensive business. If you pay for a critique, make sure you are very aware of who is doing the critiquing. Try to find a critique group to work in; it can be tricky getting a good fit, not to mention finding the time to critique others' work, but it is best practice if you can manage it! If you join a writer's organization (some specialize in certain genres) you can participate in a manuscript swap with another member, often coordinated by the organization itself. That way, you get feedback on the whole thing at once (of course, that means you're doing the same thing for another writer)! Good luck!

  3. GEW: Your comment popped up in my email inbox, but not here. So, I'm going to post it for you: hope that's okay!

    Good Enough Woman said...
    I went to my little conference, and went to a session by Kathleen Duey, author of Skin Hunger. She seems like a great writer (I've just started her book), and she said a couple of very helpul things, but I was frustrated b/c she got off on a lot of tangents, so I didn't feel as if we learned much, which was especially maddening when I was SURE she had so much good stuff to teach us!

    I've started "Live as We Knew It." I love the premise and the basics of the plot. The language and characters are okay but not great. Is that your take? I'd be interested in your assessment.

    We do have a regional SCBWI, and I'm just getting clued in.

    Today, I was thinking that maybe I would take November off from dissertating so that I could start the novel. *Gasp* I probably can't really do that, but I'm itchin' . . .

  4. GEW: I love dystopian novels, and that's the genre of my two YAs, so I'm eating them up in bulk right now. I do like the plot and premise, although diaries written "in real time" are very tricky to pull off. If we are often reminded of the diarist writing, then the dialogue recorded becomes untenable. I've often bumped into that problem with the trilogy. But one of the things I do like (and that perhaps dystopias do well) is that the language isn't overly fixed in time. It is difficult to pull off "teen speak" so that it is an enjoyable adult read, and it can be helpful therefore when opportunities to use social media within novels are wiped out (you know, by apocalypse)!

    We read the novel Z for Zachariah back in high school and I found it gripping. I'm sure that and Island of the Blue Dolphins are the two books responsible for my love of dystopia (that, and a certain outlook, I'm sure!).

    Do join SCBWI if you are interested in writing for children/young adults. It is essential! And don't wait until the diss is done to write. Writing begets writing!

  5. I'm realizing that I must really like dystopian, apocalyptic stuff, too. This became clearer t me when I was on the train this week, finishing "Life as We Knew It" and then going back to "The Passage." "Hunger Games" is next on my list. Did you like "Dead and The Gone," the second Pfeffer book?

    You make poignant comments about epistolary or diary-like novels since the YA book I'm planning is historical suspense, and I've been planning for an epistolary style. To some degree, the readers suspends disbelief, right? And since mine would be set in the c18, I can get around the "teen speak," as you say.

    Thanks for the direction to SCBWI and the encouragement to write! I'm definitely going to be interested in your YA books!


  6. GEW (T): Your book sounds intriguing!

    Yes, I did like The Dead and The Gone; it is set in NY so you get a different landscape for the apocalyptic events. A new set of characters too. (Book 3 takes care of the "disconnect" there!)

    The Hunger Games is in my "shopping basket" so to speak, and checked out of the library. Teens must eat up dystopias too, because about four of the ones I wanted were checked out!

  7. Thanks for the feedback! Oh, and the "T" was a rogue typing error (rather than a signature).