This past weekend I attended the annual conference for the Carolinas region of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). It’s the only writing conference I attend all year (though I’m on the lookout for a good one in the spring), and it’s always worthwhile.
So what did I get out of it this year? Lots.
- First and foremost, I got the chance to hobnob with fellow children’s book writers, including Alan Gratz, Carrie Ryan, and Jen McConnel.
- I also got the opportunity to meet several agents and editors, find out what each was looking for, and make the kind of personal connections that are handy to have in a query letter. Goodbye, slush pile!
- I heard some great breakout sessions on craft, covering topics like point of view, voice, and writing middle grade thrillers.
Perhaps the best thing about the conference, though, was hearing Carrie Ryan give an inspirational closing keynote. She talked about making time in your life for writing, and energized a room of over 200 writers and illustrators. I’m really looking forward to starting a book by her I’ve had on my to read list for a long time: The Forest of Hands and Teeth.
Can’t wait until next year!