Ten years ago I anxiously attended my first writer's conference. Jodi Thomas, an excellent writer and wonderful teacher gave a challenge. We drew pictures of where we wanted to be in ten years. I'm not an illustrator, but in those moments of setting my sights, I carefully took aim. What did I want? I drew. A bookstore, me signing books and my husband beside me looking very pleased. The paper has hung on my dry-erase board for ten years. This past spring I sat in a bookstore, signing The Codlest Day In Texas, and realized my husband was beside me just as he was in the drawing. Well, almost. I think his look was more "This is okay, but I'm missing the ballgame."
A conference is a wonderful opportunity to find the target, aim and prepare to shoot out that perfected manuscript in rapid fire.
The second or third conference I attended took place in Historic Fort Worth. The White Elephant Salon was a perfect place to soak up inspiration and information. It still is. It was also the perfect place to be caught in the line of fire. I entered a rough copy of the middle grade novel for critique. Judy Alter director of TCU Press stood infront of the attendees and critiqued ten manuscripts. No one knew who wrote which one but I was shaking in my books by the time she read mine. Fortunately she gave it excellent marks. That wasn't true of some other works. That was a tough way to receive critism, however it has remained with me for a long time. She asked to see the rest of the book. I had entered it in a contest and planned to start with a national press. A few years later, many rejections, and more rewrites than I can count I sold her The Coldest Day In Texas. It came out in February, reprinted in July and is a story I am proud to read to any child.
A conference is a wonderful place to receive critique from an editor, writer or both.
Grab your rope and lasso a publishing dream at the 1998 North Texas SCBWI Conference.
Besides, we are going to have a rootin' tootin' time. With Diane Roberts around I gaur-an-tee it.