So, I finally made it to the other end of the world. Seriously, from the West Corner of Minnesota to the East side of Iowa is a freakin’ haul. But, I’m glad I made the journey.
Bubbly, humorous and oh-so-kind (she helped me fill my water glass) Editor Molly O’Neill presented two mini workshops for us today. One was a writer’s boot camp to help us get to know our characters better. The second was an in-depth look at 25 book beginnings that caught her eye. It was fabulous to hear her express why each of these first words made her editor’s heart go pitter patter.
In the end, it was all about connection. Yes, there are more kinds of connection than simple character connection. Many more kinds. To name a few: setting, familiarity and tone. And once she connects, there is one sure-fire way to get her more deeply engaged in a story.
In her words: “It delights me when a character does something unexpected, but in character.”
The moral: Writer, know thy character. Henceforth the boot camp.
On Rejection: It doesn’t mean the story isn’t any good or that a writer can’t writer. It just means “I personally didn’t react to this in a way that makes me the best advocate.”
So there. No does not mean we have failed. I just means our story failed to create a stong enough connection with one particular agent/editor.
And on a whole new level: I met Agent Awesome–sat by him at the opening, as a matter of fact. I also met another one of his clients. Imagine that, two clients within six hours of each other. That’s a pretty big deal when you consider writers the sheer miles it took to get here! And she’s super sweet.
Well, really, all writers who attend SCBWI conferences are sweet. I’ve been to five over the years and never once have I found any highschool drama. There are no prom queens among us. We are all working toward our dream of putting our writing into the hands of children. And that is enough to humble the published and support the newbies.
SCBWI rocks…and not just because their directions were impeccable.
Okay, time to decompress with a good book and a little sleep. More to come tomorrow. Also, you can follow me in real-time @catewoods on twitter breaks.
hugs and good night