Saturday, February 16, 2008

SCBWI NY Winter Conference ~ 2008

The SCBWI 9th Annual Winter Conference blew into NYC on a not too frigid day, which is great since February in NYC can be downright frosty. I had the distinct pleasure of attending the SCBWI Writers Intensive on Friday, February 8th.

The day begin with the keynote speakers, Judy Enderle & Stephanie Gordon. It is no wonderful these two talented women work as a writing team. They compliment one another and fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Their presentation titled, "Begin Again!" was full of helpful tips that fit around the theme, "A Look at Beginnings that Won't Let an Editor say NO!"

The morning continued with the first round of Moderated Critiques...for those who have not had the privilege and opportunity to participate in this unique are placed at a round table with eight other writers and one agent or editor. Each person gets the opportunity to read their 500-word excerpt or synopsis. The agent or editor provides you with their professional critique and suggestions for your piece and then each of your peers provides you with their critique.

I cannot say enough how wonderful a experience and opportunity this is for a writer. Networking is key and the lunch break serves to be the perfect time to head to lunch with several of your new writer friends. Getting to know one another over an informal lunch is the perfect time to exchange contact information and your personal experiences and suggestions in writing for children.

The afternoon picked back up with the afternoon Moderated Critique session. And the day ended with yet another fabulous and informative lecture entitled, "Whew, I Can't Believe I Made It! I Need a Drink/Massage/New Keyboard...and Deeper Thoughts About Last Pages," from Jane Yolen was filled with fabulous insights and tips.

Much like the day before, the ballroom at the Hilton was filled with energized writers on Saturday, February 9th and all were a buzz in anticipation of the days events. Many writers met friends from the SCBWI boards in person for the first time and were able to finally fit the typed words to the faces of so many.

The day began with the welcoming humor of Lin Oliver & Stephen Mooser as they introduced the day events and the morning keynote speaker, Nikki Grimes. Ms. Grimes presented an energizing and enlightening speech entitled, "The Power of Poetry," she has definitely converted one attendee to look at poetry in a different light.

The morning speeches continued with a delightful and humorous presentation from David Wiesner entitled, "Storytelling Without Words." The illustrator talent of David Wiesner takes your breath away.

We were all then treated to the Breakout Workshop Sessions, which each attendee had the opportunity to pre-register for two from a list of ten (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). Presenters included: Anamika Bhatnagar, Scholastic; Alessandra Balzer, Hyperion; Caitlyn M. Dlouhy, Atheneum; David Gale, Simon & Schuster; Jennifer Hunt, Little, Brown; Wendy Loggia, Delacorte; Mark McVeigh, Aladdin Paperbacks; Molly O'Neill, Harper Collins; Reka Simonsen, Henry Holt and Nancy Siscoe, Knopf & Crown. I attended the sessions with Molly O'Neill of Harper Collins and Reka Simonson of Henry Holt. Both were informative and I walked away with an immense amount of information to better help me understand the publishing industry.

The Luncheon Keynote Address was made by Carolyn Mackler entitled, "Laughing, Crying & Being a Major Snoop: My Life as a Teen Novelist." Her presentation was both humorous and heart touching...she definitely pulled at your heartstrings. A

fter the second round of the Breakout Workshop Sessions the day concluded with a presentation entitled, "Five Agents View the Marketplace." The panel consisted of: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary; Miriam Altshuler, Miriam Altshuler Literary; Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary; Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown, Ltd; and Jodi Reamer, Writers House. This interactive panel after their initial presentation was the perfect way to conclude the day.

I unfortunately, was unable to attend the Sunday session due to a family obligation. This being my second SCBWI Winter Conference I can honestly say I did not have a favorite session or event. Each moment was filled with the perfect opportunities to network. And the positive support and encouragement everyone provides makes me walk away feeling energized and encouraged to keep traveling down this path of writing for children.

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