I missed writing Saturday because of the Brazos Valley SCBWI conference, and Sunday I was tired and took the day off. I know, missed days in my unofficial participation of National Novel Writing Month, but as it’s UNofficial, I’ll just count this as day 13 and keep going until I get to day 30.
Daily check in: Got up early and did about an hour and half of writing today. Basically, I went over the last couple of chapters I’ve written, so didn’t advance any, but it gave me a chance to remind myself of where I was in the story.
Now, onto my report from the conference. Firstly, it was great. I had a great critique with all positive feedback. (She loved it! Yay!) And we had some great speakers: Highlights magazine editor Kim Griswell on editing your own work, author Cynthia Leitich Smith on setting, authors Sherry Garland (openings), Janet Fox (characters) and Kathy Whitehead (voice) and author Kathi Appelt and her agent Emily Van Beek of Pippin Properties on a day in the life of a literary agent. Plus, I won a copy of Kathi Appelt and Jon Goodell’s lovely picture book Merry Christmas Merry Crow.
There was lots and lots of good stuff at that conference, so over the next few days, I’ll tell you some of the highlights.
Today’s highlight comes from Kim Griswell, who gives us the new alternative to using the word “unpublished”: “PRE-published”. Love it! She said persistance and tenacity are essential to succeeding. Good to remember next time the alarm clock goes off and I don’t feel like getting up.
Kim’s talk pointed out that manuscripts, whether they’re articles, novels, short stories or picture books, have three seconds to pull in an agent or editor and encourage them to read on; three seconds, or about 150 words. That’s it. So, make it brilliant, and make sure it’s error-free. Active words, commas in the right places, no spelling mistakes. Do your work and make sure that what they see is your absolute best, no matter how long it takes to get it there.
More highlights tomorrow.