Monday, May 3, 2010

April 24th SCBWI Conference

SCBWI held a writer's conference in Rocklin, a couple of weeks ago. Me and the young adult critique group I belong to went.

It was a lot of fun. Last year, I went to a SCBWI conference in Oakland and knew a couple of people. This one I was shocked to know or recognize about twenty people. A lot of wonderful things have happened with writing this past year for me.

I got a chance to practice pitching my ya novel idea to a couple of editors. Whew that was tough. The most challenging part was summarizing my 230 page book into 1.5 minutes. It was a great exercise.

The most inspiring session was held by Jeanne DuPrau, author of "The City of Ember." She spoke about revisions and her process of writing. I have re-written my novel several times because of the input I've received from paid critiques and local critique groups. My story is more interesting, tense and focused because of the people that have helped me. What DuPrau really hit me with was the fact that I have to really polish my novel before I submit it to anyone. I have to LOVE it before sharing it - I'm not quite there yet.

Since that conference, I have completely changed the first few pages of my novel, including a new working title, "The Lion Within." I am changing the age of my protagonist too. She will be 14-16 years old in the novel, not 12-16 years old. This shakes up some things with relationships in the beginning, they will become more "edgy" to use an industry catch phrase.

I am going to take a writer's workshop in the summer to hone my craft more. In the meantime, I am almost done with my sketches for my next endangered species book. I will be sending those off for my publisher to review in the next couple of weeks. Oh, and I still completely suck using commas. I am actually looking into buying a book called, "Grammer for Dummies." I know, pretty low, huh?

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