Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My First Writer's Conference

In October of last year I went to my first writer's conference through SCBWI. Learning the way editors work was an amazing reality for me. The only experience I've had with an editor was my dear friend Joyce who years ago, was a script editor on "Days of Our Lives." Her job was all about the red pen.

In the literary world, I was pleased to find out that an editor is more like a coach guiding you to a tighter, clearer and more powerful story. I was especially impressed by Greg Ferguson, editor and cover art director at Egmont, USA who spoke at this conference. His enthusiasm shined through when he spoke of one of his projects and what impressed me, was his ability to recognize the core of the story and his willingness to work with the writer to get it published without infringing on his creativity. No red pen slashing going on, I was thrilled to discover! But later, bummed to find out that Greg doesn't accept manuscripts with anthropomorphism.

 Pitch sessions you had to pay extra and sign up for. Thinking it would be done with everyone watching, I decided against it. Some how I ended up on the the printout for a pitch session, unprepared, I went for it anyway. I thought what do I got to lose and perhaps this is all in divine order. The sessions took place in a separate room where you sat at a table across from an editor or an agent and pitched your story for five minutes like "speed dating." I've never tried speed dating because it wasn't around when I was dating but looking back, some of my dates would've been better under the "speed" format!

So there I was in front of an agent with the clock ticking. I got her to laugh with a line in my book- good start. I was attempting to sum it up when I saw another pitcher approaching; it looked like I was out. I stood up and the agent handed me her business card and asked for me to send the first 50 pages of my MG!

Afterwards, I was gifted a Corona ( from a fellow CSUF graduate setting up another event in the same hall )  and was the envy of the editors and some thirsty attendees ;-) An awesome ending to my first conference!

When I got home, I took time to go over my first professional book critique that I paid for....to be continued.

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