Wednesday, November 17, 2010

10 things I learned at the SCBWI conference

As you all should know, over the weekend I went to the SCBWI Conference in Winchester. I had a real FUN time. It didn't even matter that I was not drinking all weekend as I was designated driver for Benjamin Scott and Lisa Smith. It was kind of cool ferrying them about.

As part of the follow up to the conference, we were asked to blog about the ten things we learnt at the conference. Here are my ten things in no particular order:

1) There is nothing wrong with writing under a Pseudonym. Loads of brilliant authors have done it including Linda Chapman, Jane Clarke, Lee Weatherly and Maureen Oakeley. This was very reassuring as I have just accepted a commission to co-write six books and we will be writing under the name Cathy West. Only problem is I can't spell Pseudonym, so had to use a spell check to get it right.

2) Make sure you book a place to stay where you get served a big breakfast, not only could it be the only decent meal you get in the day but, you need the energy to keep you going through the workshops without your stomach rumbling.

3) Do not wear low cut tops in a room full of women but, it is absolutely fine in restaurants with hot, young waiters, especailly if you want to get your dinner before everyone else.

4) Co-writing is fun, quicker and the book feels more polished. This was very re-assuring too for the reason explained above.

5) It is a good idea to know how you want your story to end before you start and then it is easier to finish it. This is probably where I am going wrong. Marcus Sedgwick apparently spends months just planning the story. I think I may be a little too impatient to start things. I can see how a plan might prevent me running out of steam and will give it a go.

6) Using magic in a story makes writing stories easier. But, think your magic world through fully before you begin. This again refers to planning. Another good reason to make more of an effort to plan things out. Actually, I think I may have been told this before by Lee Weatherly at a previous SCBWI conference. Now all I got to do is put it into practice.

7) Place can be used as a character. I actually knew this before too but, have never had it explained so passionately and so perfect before. Marcus has made me want to write something just to experiment using place as a character.

8) Reading your pitch aloud to a group of relative strangers can help you to polish it and improve. This was a fantastic workshop run by Jackie Marchant and I want to repeat it for every book I have ever written and will write in the future.

9) You are allowed to be promiscus on the Internet. You are - Candy Gourlay, Sarah McIntyre and Keren David said so. There is nothing wrong with being an Internet experimentalist, fetish or slut as long as you keep your clothes on. Although, I would probably describe myself as an Internet Tease, as I know I have left all my blogger followers with hopes of follow-ups to some of my posts and have never got round to doing it. However, Candy was pushing writing orgies and reckons it is probably better nowadays to be promiscus in a group... or something like that!

10) People change their careers a lot and it is not just a mid-life crisis. It is important to follow your heart and it is possible to redefine yourself. Many of the speakers I listened to have changed their careers some of them, like the amazing illustrator Lynne Chapman, more than once. There is hope for me yet!

If you would like to read some of the other people's blogs about the conference take a look at:


Candy Gourlay said...

great list! i especially like the permission to wear low cut tops.

Cathy West? Will there be lots of references to the Wild Wild West?

please add my blog to your list (and I have a book giveaway in a rather desperate attempt to boost my readership)

kathryn evans said...

Oh LOL Anita - you make me laugh :O) And yippee for the 6 books and tee hee for the low cut tops and Hoorah hoorah for SCBWI xx

Anita Marion Loughrey said...

Thanks Kathryn.
I added both your blogs and then arranged them all in alphabetical order.
Hmm! I kind of like the idea of being the 'Wild Wild West'!! I wonder what I should wear for that?

MC Rogerson said...

Excellent list! I like the idea behind 7. Unfortunately, I missed this session because I was in my one-to-one. Looking forward to hearing about your 6 books. Congrats!

Morning Scribbler said...

I've enjoyed reading your columns in Writers' Forum. Now that I've found your blog, I can enjoy your writing on a more regular basis!

Congratulations on the commission, and thanks for the tip about the low-cut tops. There’s nothing I hate more than slow service. Except perhaps showing my cleavage. :)

Rebecca Colby

Tina Lemon said...

I wished I could get notes for the session on "Magic". So annoying not to be able to be in two places at once - I guess I need to bring proper magic into my life to make that happen!!!

Congratulations on the commission!