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Hello everyone! Kati and I went to the SCBWI conference this past weekend and now I’m reporting in to share all the info with you. It’ll be like you were there with us! I’m going to break this up into a couple of different posts so stay tuned this week.

First, the overview. This was only the second time we’ve been to a writing conference. Our first was in New York, and it was a really fun experience, but we were looking for something a little more low-key and close to home this time. Also this conference gave Kati a chance to branch out and check out the illustration track while I took notes on all the novel writing workshops.

THE GOOD:

SCBWI put on a very nice conference – I was really impressed with how friendly everyone was, and they had snacks throughout the day, a definite plus in my book. πŸ™‚

I took pages of notes and learned a lot, plus at the end I left feeling energized and ready to tackle another writing project. Even better? Kati and I got to meet our fellow Pitch Warrior, Stephanie! It was like a mini TeamBriggs pow-wow – we were just missing our fellow alternate, Teresa, and of course our fearless leader, Liz. We also met Stephanie’s friend, another Katie. Great times!

Kati, Stephanie, Katie, and me

Kati, Stephanie, Katie, and me

THE BAD:

We did have a crushing disappointment, though…Richard Peck was supposed to be the keynote speaker and had planned on doing two workshops on writing beginnings, but due to health reasons he was forced to cancel at the last minute. The conference did a great job recovering from this set-back, though, booking Golden Kite winners Jeri Chase Ferris and Joanne Rocklin to give the keynote speech at the beginning, and then inviting Katherine Longshore (author of Gilt) to do a replacement workshop while Andrew Harwell (HarperCollins editor) stepped up to discuss opening lines.

…AND THE WEIRD:

Okay, so this didn’t happen at the conference itself, but the next morning Kati and I were shopping at a bookstore nearby when a little old woman came up to me. She looked nice and sweet, with a kerchief tied over her head, and she peered up into my face and said, quite clearly, “I’m going to stomp on your toes.”

I looked at her, then at Kati across the aisle, then back at her. She made a stomping motion with her foot, then leaned back to stare at me, waiting for a reaction, but really, what do you even say to something like that? I sure didn’t know. “Um…I’d prefer if you didn’t?” I tried.

After she left, thankfully leaving my toes unscathed, I asked Kati, “Did that really happen?”

Kati just nodded. “Yep, it really did. Hey, what do you think of this book?” Nice thing about Kati, not much fazes her.

Anyways, stick around and tomorrow I’ll get into the meat of the conference, sharing what I learned about publishing alternatives, great openings, putting the real in fiction, and perfecting your arc…

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