I have completed my first writer's conference and I can't believe how much I learned from it. It was truly worth every penny I scrimped and saved to attend and the "total immersion" aspect is no joke. I spent every minute from Friday afternoon at 1pm to Sunday afternoon at 2pm breathing, eating and living the craft of writing.
I attended some excellent workshops and several read and critiques. The tips and suggestions I received on the two manuscripts I shared are priceless. I was thrilled to get great feedback on both. Gives me fantastic validation that I was not wrong, I am a good writer!
Some notable people I met this past weekend: Taylor Martindale was sweet and kind; Monte Schulz was intelligent and generous with his time and inspiring suggestions and comments; Gail Carline was funny and fun and also inspiring. I was over the moon to meet and receive a business card from an agent on my wish list, Bree Ogden. She is right up in my kitchen, a Middle Grade agent, lover of novels and projects she has a new word for I adore, "boy-centric" and she loves loves loves horror: totally my kind of girl! And the best speaker: hands down it was Greg Hurwitz! So entertaining and what an interesting life he is leading. Something again to aspire to.
The agent panel was a true revelation. Learned so many new things about agents. Bree and others opened up and told all of us things in a genuine way about what to expect from them about time frames and submissions and the like. Really enlightening.
And new friends! I have a few new friends with whom to correspond who are navigating the same "Find An Agent, Get Discovered" mine fields as I and it is nice to find kindred spirits in like circumstances.
So, new missions: tighten up The Ghost and The Guys and The Detention Demon for submission to uberagent Bree Ogden because I liked her and she and I seemed to have a moment. I hope it wasn't one-sided. That would be weird.
Get rid of adverbs, adjectives and use more descriptive verbs. Show, don't tell, unless you have to show. Don't bury the lead. And grab the reader (agent) from the first paragraph, or you won't get a second. AND WRITE GREAT QUERIES!
Easy, right? Right. I'll check back and let you know how it goes. And I'm already saving for the conference in Feb '11! Write on SCWC!