The conference started Friday at 2:00 p.m. and ended Sunday at 3:00 p.m. In between were two and a half jam-packed days.
While the evening hours were supposed to be for socializing and networking, I was falling into my bed at the Sheraton every night around nine o'clock -- partially from the fast-paced schedule of the conference itself, and partially from the sheer exhaustion of "too much togetherness," as my late father-in-law used to say.
Among the workshops I'd picked at the conference, these two were my favorites:
- "Mad Cap Outlining" with spunky YA author Annie Gaughen, in which we used Post-Its to get to know our characters better.
- "Something Borrowed, Something New -- Mining Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales to Write Fantasy" with YA author Katie Carroll. Thanks for pointing out the newly discovered collection of German fairy tales - sounds like a real treasure trove!
And last but not least: Star agent Jennifer Laughran from Andrea Brown Literary Agency. While I didn't get to take a workshop with her, I found her most impressive during my Agent Quick Query (where an agent reviews your query letter) as well as Saturday's Pitchapalooza in the Sheraton's Ballroom.
If you've never heard of this SCBWI tradition, it's like this: You walk up on stage and deliver a one-minute (and not a second more!) pitch of your children's/YA book, whereupon a panel of agents and editors tells you what they think of it, harhar. Just kidding - in fact, the Pitchapalooza was a very civil and supportive affair; none of the agents and editors outright shredded any of the pitches.
Not only does Jennifer have the kind of spunk and sarcastic humor I love so much (I collect people like that, because I believe you can never have too many witty friends), she is also freaking good at her job. She completely remodeled my query letter, and her comments at the Pitchapalooza were some of the most spot-on I've ever heard at a writers' conference.
Now it's back to the daily grind of actually doing the writing -- but with a lot more energy. Thanks, gals!