Sunday, May 24, 2009

Afterward: SCBWI Oregon Spring Conference

I truly enjoyed the SCBWI Oregon Spring Conference. Everyone that made this event possible did a great job. Thank you to Judi Gardiner and Robin Koontz who greeted us and pointed the attendees in the right directions. Also, ladies, your hard work showed by how wonderful the conference flowed.

The speakers taught me much.

Author Cheryl Coupe and I talked a bit in between classes, and she shines in kindness and warmth. In her Master Class, she taught us about secondary characters. I was pleased to find that her talked coincided with my critique session. Stepping out of Cheryl’s class for a few minutes for my session appointment, the person who critiqued my manuscript pages gave me valuable suggestions. Several that Cheryl repeated with excellent examples when I returned to her class. I’d say that was perfect timing!

Miriam Hees, Publisher of Blooming Tree Press, spoke on “Story Structure—Taking An Idea Into a Workable Story.” As a fun aside,  Ms. Hees made us laugh, which loosened us up and made it easier to learn.

Elana Roth, Agent at Caren Johnson Literary Agency, talked about the author/agent business relationship. Very insightful, with humor sprinkled about.

Abigail Samoun, Editor of Tricycle Press, spoke on the picture book process. She gave an informative slide show from draft to submission-ready story.

Marianne Monson, freelance editor and author, taught a class on nonfiction books. You could easily tell she enjoys history and teaching how to write story (I’m with Marianne’s camp on how fascinating history can be). She kept me mezmerized the entire class period.

Last but not least, Noa Wheeler, Editor of Henry Holt, spoke on “Writing Around Character.” Her enthusiasm showed for the characters of books she used as examples.

During the conference, I took loads of notes and stashed away good memories of the conversations I had with folks. I asked questions from several of the speakers and got to know them and the business side of writing better. This was by far one of the best conferences I’ve participated in. I plan to go next year.

Until next time . . .


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