SCBWI Conference Recap

February 10th, 2008 • Kate

Had a fun brilliant time at the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference this weekend. I was asked to be a part of the Writers Intensive on Friday, and though I spent most of the day sniffling and sneezing, I also had the opportunity to help 15 writers polish their manuscripts, proposals and synopses. The most common note the writers received? (Not just from me, mind you, but also from the other writers at the table.) Be aware of where you start your story. A number of the samples I saw featured prologues or long introductions, and almost every reader wanted to get to the story more quickly. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have any prologue, ever, but consider if you couldn’t give that information to the reader in some other format.
Friday night was also the SCBWI VIP cocktail party, where I had an opportunity to mix and mingle with my colleagues in children’s publishing, pitch some upcoming projects, and meet some new contacts — as well as toasting to our future success.
Saturday, after gaining some additional insight into the interests of several top editors, I sat in the audience of a panel featuring some of the top literary agents in our industry, hearing what they think are the emerging trends in the market. Good news for writers? No one wants you to follow a trend. Every agent up there said a version of the same thing — write the story you have to write, and if it’s strong and well-written, it will find readers. It’s not about finding the next Big New Thing — the next vampire, or faery, or princess novel — it’s about the Next Great New Book. And yes, there IS a difference.

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One Response to “SCBWI Conference Recap”

  1. Julia Says:

    It sounds like a good time! Good to hear about "writing the story [I] have to write."
    Thanks for the glimpse into the conference.