I have stopped posting twice every week out of respect for my friends and followers email box space and their time. I know I have found it hard to keep up with everyone else’s posts, and I expect others feel the same. But there are special things that have to be shared. I didn’t want to miss the chance to say what great experiences I had at the eastern Pennsylvania SCBWI and New Jersey SCBWI fall events over the last two weekends..
|part of mosaic exhibition on display in PA|
Both SCBWI chapters held FREE Saturday events. I should clarify that the events were free for SCBWI members. Non-members did have to pay. But writers who are serious about writing kidlit are usually SCBWI members, so this was a treat for almost everyone there.
I sat in the amphitheatre for the opening introduction in Pennsylvania only to discover that I was seated beside one of my favorite picture book author/illustrators Bryan Collier! Those of you who follow my blog know that I reviewed his work in Dave the Potter. After we exchanged business cards, he got out his most recently completed illustration project, a book called Knock, Knock:My Dad's Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty that will be published December 17, 2013. I drank in his artistry and passion. So even before the official event began, I was glad I came. Betcha can guess what book I’ll be reviewing soon. . . .
At lunch, I browsed a mosaic art display that happened to be in the building where we were meeting, part of Penn State's Great Valley campus. These artists' creativity was more inspiration! In the afternoon I enjoyed an in-depth workshop on world-building, the stepping-stone to submitting book proposals, with author Debbie Dadey. She shared her own binder containing all of the elements she uses for her own proposals, and with 158 books sold, her methods obviously are good ones to follow!
Both chapters tacked on extra events that participants paid for on Sunday. Pennsylvania had a critique fest during which writers had critiques with one agent, one editor, one author, and a peer group. That’s a lot of helpful advice and feedback! Unless you were one of the lucky ones who got an extra spot, the Sunday session in New Jersey featured just one critique but also a host of in-depth craft workshops that were some of the best I’ve attended. I wanted to have a clone to attend multiple sessions. As it was I learned from Joanna Cardenas from Viking children’s books, Liza Voges of Eden Street Literary LLC, Emily Feinberg of Roaring Brook Press, Author Tara Lazar, and Katie Bignell from Katherine Tegen Books. By the end, my head was swimming with ideas. If you were made of hardy stock, peer critiques met in New Jersey from 8-10:30 Saturday night. Yeah, I’m hardy.
These two weekends confirmed what I already knew. Writers are generous people, sharing their knowledge and support to each other. It’s a community I’m glad to be a part of.