So Yesterday I attended the SCBWI Dakota Conference. It was a small event with only about 30 people, but we had three great speakers. Author Cindy Kane, Illustrator Carrie Hartman and Editor Brian Farrey-Latz from Flux—the young adult imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide.
Brian’s presentation was the one with the most information that pertained to me. He’s a dynamic speaker and is fun to listen to. One thing he spoke about was making sure we’re balancing the plot—the action, with the internally emotions of the main character.
Apparently this is one of my problems with FROSTY.
I signed up for the 15 minute manuscript critique session with Brian. (My first 1500 words) This was so cool because as I said, he’s an actual editor at a publisher that works solely with YA.
Some of the ladies there (ladies cause there were only 3 men out of 20 and 2 were speakers) were nervous about their critique. I wasn’t nervous, but I hoped it wasn’t going to be ALL negative.
He had some good things to say and of course pointed out the negative. Overall I was happy to hear what he said and the bad stuff didn’t surprise me.
Three months ago, I got a critique from someone else in the industry and she commented that things were moving too slowly at the beginning. And that I had too many inner thoughts. So I revised and deleted 12,000 words. I think I went overboard. It wasn’t balanced.
Setting and description isn’t my strong suit to begin with, but I cut too much of what I did have at the beginning. Many of the places where I cut are where Brian suggested I add more detail. I’m not going to bring back everything I cut because the key is balance. I just need a little more to establish my setting.
I also need to add some more internal thoughts. No big conversations, but just a line or two every occasionally.
After I met with Brian, I skimmed through his comments. Most of them are about adding a detail or two. Or to take a few lines and move them out of their current spot to somewhere else.
It was a lot of great comments and I’m glad I decided to do the critique. Even though it was a one day conference and didn’t have a lot of attendees, I learned a lot and met a ton of new people.
Now time to get back to work.
Have you ever had an editor or a literary agent critique your work? How did it go?
There are organizations out there for just about anyone and anything. Currently I am a member of two professional organizations, National Association of Women in Construction and National Society of Professional Engineers. (Our local chapter being called FM Engineers) They are great organizations, but with the two kids and Cory’s odd work schedule, it’s hard to participate much in them.
But now I have just become a member of SCBWI. Every heard of it?
Society of Children’s Books Writers & Illustrators. According to their website, they are a professional organization that “acts as a network for the exchange of knowledge between writers, illustrators, editors… (many others listed)… and others involved with literature for young people.”
They have discussion boards, a bi-monthly magazine and other publications which offer information on writing and publishing and more. It looks like they offer grants and have several well known annual awards.
They also offer two big conferences every year. One in NY one in LA. It would be fun to go to one as they get big time writers/publishers/agents. Plus I’ve never been to NY, so it’d be a great reason to go!
I thought it would be a good idea to join, even though the local group (covering the Dakotas) isn’t very active. It looks like a great source of information and I look forward to finding out more about what they do.