Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SCBWI Eastern PA Fall Philly Conference 2009

There is nothing more inspiring for a children's writer than walking into a room filled with writers, artists, editors, agents and lots and lots of children's books hot off the press.

This was my 3rd year at the conference and my 1st year as a volunteer. The conference is held on a Saturday in the fall at a country club within 30 minutes from my house.
This year because I scheduled the manuscript critiques and portfolio reviews, I was invited to spend Friday evening at a dinner that SCBWI Easter PA puts on for its faculty. So, Friday night I sat down with my volunteer partners and some very influential people in the children's writing world.

Scott Treimel/agent STNY
Alexandra Penfold/editor Paula Wiseman Books
Noa Wheeler/editor Henry Holt
Timothy Travaglini/editor GP Putnam Sons
Wendy Mays & Janice Onken/art reps WendyLynn & Co
David Wiesner/ Author/Illustrator
Debbie Dadey/ Author
Lee Harper/ Author/Illustrator
Catherine Gilbert Murdock/ Author

The weekend was amazing!

I had sent my newest project BENNY KEPT BOUNCING to a faculty member prior to the conference along with the other manuscripts I received from many amazing authors. We met @ 10am and and chatted about revisions. I will be sending my revised manuscript in the form of a book dummy within the next month.

Later in the day I had a wonderful meeting with Wendy Mays and Janice Onken. We sat overlooking a sunny day on the golf course and pages through my portfolio. They had a special love for one of my characters. The funny thing is, this particular character is the one I doodle ALL THE TIME.

Being trained as an art teacher has one major draw back; in my training I did not have the course time to focus on a specific style, therefore I have never been sure of what my "style" is. In speaking to Wendy and Janice I had one of those "forest for the trees" moments. We were talking about the Macy-Sue character that they were so enamoured by and I commented that I love that character, too but I almost felt like it was cheating because that "style" (hmmm, did I actually HAVE a distinct style?) comes so naturally to me. I described it as, "Those kinds of characters just seem to slow out of me and onto the paper."

Wendy looked at me and said with a grin, something along the lines of, Well, then you do, in fact have a style!

I caught up with the faculty member who critqued my manuscript and we quickly chatted about the book dummy. I revealed the style that Wendy and Janice preferred. So, it looks like I will be sending the new and improved BENNY in the book dummy. That new Benny flowed from my hand and onto a lined piece of paper yesterday during my daughter's gymnastic class.

So, nose to the grindstone. Lots of refining. Even more cutting and polishing. That much closer to touching a child's life through my gifts!


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