A few days prior to the writers’ conference this year, I tried to decide what I want to get out of it. If I had a goal, I reasoned, I would be more likely to leave the conference a wiser woman. I could learn more about the craft of writing children’s books, meet other writers like me, perhaps get lucky and say hello to an editor or an agent, but what do I really want? For the last few months I’ve been writing a romance novel for adults -- what am I seeking in a conference aimed at children’s books?
I do have one novel for teens that is being considered by an agent, and I have been playing around with a sequel to it (playing around equals to about one hundred and fifty pages written before I got the main characters stranded on a magical mountain). That makes me count as a children’s fiction writer still, even if I am concentrating on romance right now.
And craft is craft. Perhaps no one will teach me here to write better rolling around in bed scenes (notice the euphemism?), but I could learn about revision, creativity, and dreams. That settled it for me. I was coming to the conference to be inspired. What better goal than that? And, just to be on the safe side, I chose a secondary goal: to give twenty of my business cards away. The least I could do, since Dar printed about five hundred of them for me.
The conference began yesterday with Charlie Price, author of Desert Angel (and more). After listening to him, my first action once I returned to my room was to buy the novel on kindle. Price spoke about his creative process and how he watches the movie of the story unroll as he writes. I could see his movie myself on the page once I started reading. Price's writing is visual, raw and real. I felt connected to Angel, the main character, from the first paragraph, and I’m sure this is a book that I will write about again. I was lucky to sit next to Charlie Price’s wife at dinner and talk books and work ethics with her. That was great.
After dinner I expected great inspiration. I had heard Dan Yaccarino speak before (and I wrote about his YES presentation). But this time he surprised me. After speaking for about an hour about his success, which he attributes to his saying YES to every opportunity that came his way, Yaccarino added: “For every project you see here there are ten that didn’t make it.” I was amazed and inspired by how Yaccarino keeps challenging himself, working hard, trying new things, never afraid of being ridiculed or making mistakes. Truly inspiring.
So inspiring, in fact, that I’m writing to you this morning before I even had breakfast, so I’m going to do it now. Wishing all of us a wonderfully inspiring and enriching Saturdday!