Story-Makers Making Stories in NYC

Quick highlights from today’s Writers’ Intensive at the 11th Annual Winter Conference for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. For starters, I started the day out at the wrong conference. A man with an accent-other-than-mine asked me if is was a “story-maker,” or so that’s what I thought he said. I followed him to a registration table, only to find out it was the “History-makers’ Conference.” My bad. But, then again, I could’ve been at the right place, but for two pesky letters.

Fiction writers = story-makers. Can you think of a better description?

I finally found the right registration table and the right room, packed wall to wall with writers, editors and agents.

SCBWI Winter Conference, NYC 2010

SCBWI Winter Conference, NYC 2010

I’ve attended the NYC Winter Conference several times, but today was my first pre-conference Writers’ Intensive. Intensive is the PERfect title: two, count them, two critique sessions in one day, where we humbled ourselves by reading 500 words of a manuscript aloud  to a group of eight writers and an editor/agent.

We giggled a good deal in our first critique session:

  • Francesco Sedita, Vice President and Publisher, Grosset and Dunlap and author of “Miss Popularity,”
  • Charlene Allen (New York),
  • Genetta Adair (Tennessee),
  • Sheralee Hill Inglehart (California),
  • Lucia Arno-Bernsen,
  • Leah Odze Epstein (New York),
  • Sharon Dembro, and
  • Stasia Ward Kehow (Washington).

Our second session included the delightful Suzanne Young, author of the Naughty List series, as our guest SCBWI blogger.

  • Michelle Nagler, Editorial Director, Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books,
  • Christina Jespersen (Denmark),
  • Allison Keeton, (Connecticut),
  • Janie Makuch, (twittersphere),
  • Sandy Opheim,
  • Allison Keeton,
  • Priya Ardis, and
  • Bridget Casey.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to grow and learn from the editors and authors contributing to our critique sessions. But…critique (of any kind) can feel like ripping off a bandaid. Necessary to move forward, but OUCH, it stings.

The more I learn about the craft of fiction the more I learn that I need to learn.

I’m in an eternal do-loop…or at least that’s how it feels sometimes. That’s why writers’ conferences are so important. We come to hone the craft, and learn about the industry. Oh, and make new friends too.

BTW: Shout out to writer Billy Baldwin, a new buddy from last summer’s Southampton Writers’ Conference. How fun to see him again and hear about how his stories are progressing.

Much more to cram into my brain tomorrow. Yawn. More later.

Keep up to date on what’s happening at the conference on the SCBWI conference blog.


Filed under writers

2 responses to “Story-Makers Making Stories in NYC

  1. Beth, I hope you’re having a great time at the conference. I’m writing a YA novel about a moon colony so I started following you on Twitter after finding you through the #SCBWIny10 hashtag. I’m at @katefall if you want to trade info. My blog partners are there having a great time; I’m so jealous!

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