Monday, November 17, 2008

Prairie Writers Day Recap

On Saturday I was fortunate enough to attend the SCBWI Prairie Writers Day. The night before, I could not get to sleep as it was my first conference. I was so nervous and excited. I was like a little girl before the first day of school!
A friend from my writing group, Ann Bryson, accompanied me to this conference. It was fun to have someone to share the day with. As we pulled into the parking lot, I realized it was the wrong lot, so I went to back up (slowly, thank goodness) and heard a honk behind me! I exclaimed to Ann, “Well, I almost hit an editor!” Great way to start the day…luckily it was not an editor, but a very nice lady who was polite enough not to mention my driving faux pas when we met up with her. We entered the building, received our folder and name tags, and sat among 175 attendees who were anxious to learn and mingle with their peers and the guest speakers.
What amazing guest speakers! Our speakers included editors from different publishers: Harold Underdown who is a freelance editorial consultant, Martha Mihalick from Greenwillow, Cheryl Klein from Arthur A. Levine Books, and Caroline Meckler from Wendy Lamb Books. Our group learned more about the state of the industry from Harold, character from Martha, plot from Cheryl and voice from Caroline. All presentations were so thorough. The information presented refreshed what I do know and added to my knowledge of each topic. I am looking forward to using this information to revise my current projects. As guest speaker, Jennifer Rofe said, “When you think you are done, you’re not!” Jennifer is an agent from Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I did not know much about agencies before this. She opened my eyes to what an agent does, which includes suggesting edits of the manuscript before sending it to publishers. Sharon Darrow’s teaching session also emphasized revision. She gave some great helpful hints to revise poetry.
Besides recharging and filling up my think tank, this day allowed me to mingle with other authors. I was able to visit with some ladies from my local SCBWI chapter. I spoke with my poetry mentor, Heidi Bee Roemer, with whom I’ve taken a class from. I also met a fellow blogger and blueboarder, Tabitha Olson. Ann and I met many wonderful people who adore the writing process as much as we do.
I left the conference refreshed, smarter, more confident, and definitely excited to revise my manuscripts and create more. And boy, did I sleep well when I got home that night, too!


Brenda said...

Glad you had a wonderful time...These types of things are great for you said to recharge them...Love the cake pic...

slhastings said...

Are you in Illinois??? Or is there another event? Where you at, homegirl?

dragonlady said...

Sounds like you got a lot from your conference. I hope you'll post about your experience on your blog and share what you learned.

Sara Latta said...

Hi Kelly,
Thanks for commenting! I'm glad you enjoyed the conference. I always feel fired up and ready to go (so to speak--hee hee) after these things.

Kim said...

What a small bloggy world it is. Kelly, I'm in Illinois, too! Unfortunately, the budget didn't allow for PW Day this year, but hopefully I'll get to go back next year. I took a class with Heidi, too. Heidi rocks!
Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your day.

Rena said...

Sounds like it was a great experience for you, Kelly. I'm hoping I can make it to a writer's conference sometime. :)

slhastings said...

We were in LA for a little bit, but I grew up in Chicago...and live downtown. If you're ever in the city, (Holiday Shopping and all that) let's meet up for coffee, caramels or cocktails. (My email is on my profile...that is until I become a famous published authoress, whereas it will change and be removed... :)

Funny! Small world.

Kim Kasch said...

Oh, I love conferences. They are such a good time to meet other people who have the common interests. I've heard Harold before. He seems to know a lot about the industry.

I haven't heard the other people. But it sounds like you learned something from each of them.

keri mikulski :) said...

Sounds like a great time. :) Thanks for sharing.

Kim Baise said...

Looks like a great conference! I hope you got a lot of inspiration and ideas from it.

Tabitha said...

Hi Kelly!! It was wonderful to meet you saturday!

This was an amazing conference, with a fantastic lineup of speakers, wasn't it? I left there feeling inspired. :)

adrienne said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed it! I've been to only one local conference and hope to go again early next year.
I love Harold Underdown's website, I'd love to hear what he had to say.

Carrie Harris said...

I was born in Chicago, can I join the love fest too? :)

Sounds like you had a FABULOUS time. I'm so jealous.

Kelly said...

Brenda- The cake weighed 75 pounds!
SL- Emailed ya!
Dragonlady- My friend Ann lists some great details on her blog which is linked on mine!
Sara- I know what you mean, it certainly inspires me to get to my revisions and new writing!
Kim- Heidi is awesome. I'm thinking of taking another course from her. She is sooooo nice, too.
Rena- I highly recommend a conference, well worth the time and money!
KimK- Yes, Harold seems to be pretty well known in the kidlit world. He also has a book called The Idiots Guide to getting your children's book published (or something like that!)
Keri and Kim B- It really was amazing!!
Tabitha- It was great to meet a fellow blogger!
Adrienne- Harold talked about the ups and downs of the industry...he does know a lot about it!
Carrie- You are welcome to join us for a drink! I have a feeling there would be much snarfing!

Prince Balthazar said...

Hey! I was there, too. I followed a post of yours on Tabitha's blog, whom I met briefly at the conference.

My wife and I live in Chicago so it was an easy jaunt to River Forest.

The conference was my first, too and I loved it. A great time all around.

Good luck with your work!

caribookscoops said...

Sounds like this was fun. I will have to tell my sister about these events. I think she would interested.

I am new to book blogging and also participating in the comment challenge. So I thought I would drop in and say hi.

Sara said...

Thanks for taking up the comment challenge and finding me at my blog!

What a fantastic first conference you picked. Cheryl is my editor, btw. She's wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I can't sleep the night before conferences either! Then I show up with huge bags under my eyes and I have trouble concentrating in the classes. It DOES feel like I'm a little kid at Christmas though, so exciting!

Jill Corcoran said...

How fun! Thanks for the update