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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Most Important Thing I Learned From A Conference

I'm exhausted (both physically and mentally), but I couldn't be happier. If you've never been to a writing conference, I highly recommend finding one (see the sidebar to the right for some resources).

Being surrounded by amazing faculty members (agents, editors, and other industry professionals), authors, and writers makes for a stimulating environment. My head and heart are still buzzing with knowledge and energy.

Due to conference etiquette, I can't tell you much of what I learned in the sessions. After all, these folks make money off the info they present, so we're not supposed to share the juicy stuff. All of the agents and editors were incredibly friendly and approachable, and author/illustrator Adam Rex was one of the best speakers I've had the pleasure of hearing.

If you have the opportunity to attend any sort of session with either of the ladies from Nelson Literary (Kristin Nelson & Sara Megibow), make it happen. Period. And if you have the chance to hear Viking editor Kendra Levin speak on revision, make that happen too.

Okay, since I can't just gush about it all without sharing anything, I will tell one choice piece of advice. It comes from a very well-known agent who was doing a first page session. She read first pages from attendees and told us when she would stop and reject. It was incredibly helpful to see how quickly agents hone in on craft issues and choices that wouldn't be a fit for them. Okay, are you ready???

Get your notebooks out.....

.....

This could be the difference between your manuscript being a success and it being flushed down the publishing toilet...


....ready?



"Never mention bodily functions on the first page! Ever."

Tee-hee! Hope that was helpful :)

(I assume potty books for toddlers are the exception)


Have a lovely week, everyone. I plan on catching up with your blogs soon!

24 comments:

  1. HA! Hilarous. So, it sounds like this was a very productive conference and I'm so glad you posted a follow-up on it. Thanks!!

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  2. Too funny. It had never occurred to me to do that, so I guess my instincts are okay on this one.

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  3. Ha! Thanks for saving the very best piece of advice to share with us. :-D

    Seriously, though, I'm glad you enjoyed your conference. I almost went to the same one (if it's the one I'm thinking of) but just couldn't get away for it. It looked like a good one, too!

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  4. That sounds awesome! I love going to places like that where you just know you are in the right place...with your people. :-) Your energy jumps off the page...love that. I think I need to hit a writing conference!

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  5. Hah! LOL. That was good.

    I'm going to WFC next month in San Diego, but it will mostly be more about partying than learning anything. Mostly.

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  6. haha LOL! Thanks for the tip!

    Glad you had a good time!

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  7. The conference sounds fantastic! Glad you had fun.

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  8. Hahaha! Awesome advice! (And, phew! I'm safe...at least with my current wip!) Feeling very jealous of your conference fun, but am glad you got to go and be so glowy about it all!

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  9. Great advice! Haha. :D

    That's awesome that you had a wonderful time at the conference. I'm looking at attending one myself next year. They sound really valuable.

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  10. Sounds like you had a fabulous time. Sometimes the best part of those conferences are meeting other writers, but the sessions can be pretty amazing too. Lucky you!

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  11. Hey Jess! Fantastic to see you, as always! And I totally understand the still reeling almost a week later feeling.

    And, ooh, good, I don't mention blood and nausea/vomiting until at least page two! Looks like I'm in the clear for now!

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  12. Eeep...yeah I would think bodily functions is a no brainer.

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  13. ohno! now to go tweak my opening page... :P

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  14. LOL! What great advice. :D And sounds like a fabulous conference. I'm off to one in Oct. and another in Nov. and can hardly wait!

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  15. Good to know.
    *takes notes to remove diarrhea scene from next book's first page*

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  16. He he! I noticed that conference schedules now always contain a note about what can and cannot be shared by bloggers. The SCWBI Rocky Mountain conference said it was okay to mention one point from a session, but not multiple points. I like the one point you shared :)

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  17. LOL, that's awesome, and YES, a VERY IMPORTANT TIP! ^_^

    I'm glad you had a great conference experience, and I hope to attend more myself next year (I'm saving my little pennies!) I'm envious that your editor-speaker spoke about revisions...though I wasn't at *that* point when I went to my local SCBWI conference, I am to that point now, and could use some best practices!

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  18. I've been to a couple smaller conferences that are local, but I have plans next year to tackle some major ones. The energy you come back with is awesome!! :)

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  19. I'd like to go through an entire mg manuscript without bodily functions being mentioned but that rarely happens.

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  20. I'm giggling. I teach 5th grade so bodily functions are a daily discussion in our world. I love conferences. I can't believe how many new things I learn at each one I attend. I have heard Kendra. She is amazing. Her eagle editing eye blew me away, and she's really funny.

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  21. Hey, I think we met last weekend! I was the critique coordinator person running around all the time :). I must have missed the bodily function session, tho, so thanks for sharing!

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