Conference Wrap-Up

          

I’m coming out of my RMC-SCBWI conference-induced fatigue,
and wanted to share some morsels 
before the passion and meaning behind the words grow too dim.

Bruce Coville gave our keynote speech on Saturday morning.
My favorite line:  "The blank page is hard, not because nothing’s
there, but because everything is there.  The whole world."

He ended his talk (titled The Art of the Heart: Writing True for the Child)
with this: "Let us not take joy, let us give it.  Let us give it courageously."

Just a short while later, I had my one-on-one critique with him.
He read the first 10 pages of BIRD BRAIN.  
Good news: he thinks the voice is strong.
Not-as-good news: I need to rework the opening pages to set them in a scene
rather than exposition.  I kind of knew that, but had a secret hope he’d love it as is!
(Major thanks again to  for helping me out of a slump so I could get those
pages ready for submission!)

One of the few sessions I was able to attend (due to responsibilities), was Social Media 101.
Drew Shope, of Thrive Social Media, is a 25-year-old social media guru who convinced me to start tweeting.
I’m having fun thus far but fear the Undisciplined Time Suck.
(I’m @TracyAbell)

I attended Elizabeth Law’s session on First Pages.
The overwhelming message of the day was Slow Down the Action.
(This is what was said regarding my first page from FRAMED, too.)
Of course, during another session, editor Kate Harrison and agent Elena Mechlin
both said they like a story that gets going immediately to pull them in.

(L-R Moderator Bobbi, Elizabeth Law, Elena Mechlin, Kate Harrison, Rotem Moscovich)

My favorite Elizabeth Law line of the weekend came in response to a question.
Q: If an editor or agent suggests revisions, is it appropriate to ask for clarification?
A:  No, work in the dark.  Spend a lot of time.  Hope you get it right.
(The answer is, Of course!)

I had a wonderful time and bonded with Bruce Coville.
When my critique time was up, I thanked him.
He said, "You betcha!" then said with considerable dismay, "I sound like Sarah Palin."
That’s all it took.  We were off and running (next writer hadn’t yet shown up).

It was a wonderful, exhausting weekend.
But next year, I hope to scale back on conference-day duties so I can fully enjoy.

(Local writers Stephanie Blake and Jeanne Kaufman yukking it up)

                

22 thoughts on “Conference Wrap-Up

  1. Yeah! I’m glad he liked the voice. I thought it was great! And I guess he nailed what I was trying to say about something needing to happen to set up what the story was about. Of course he said it more succintly. Then again, he should, it’s his job. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing what you learned.

    Keep giving updates on your progress.

    • Thank you, Tracy. As you know, I was worried that the voice wasn’t coming through. But with your critique and his critique, I’m feeling more confident. I mean, I hoped it was there but wondered if I was delusional.

      And yes, you did try to tell me about my opening pages. Sometimes I need two slaps upside the head.

  2. Thanks, Tracy.

    I heard Bruce C. speak at the Maui Writers’ Conference and he was very entertaining and inspirational. It’s great that he gave you an encouraging critique.

    • He does give a great speech, doesn’t he? So many people told me throughout the day how inspired they felt after that keynote. He did a great job launching our conference.

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