I had wanted (please note past perfect) to go to the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) May conference (since I have 3 children's book projects underway; one nonfiction) and I haven't gone to many of the local meet-ups. Back in January, I said to myself, I'll be ready (to meet an agent) by spring. I saw the email about the conference and then I let a couple of weeks slip by. Big mistake! It's obviously like signing up for classes in college. You have to jump on it right away or you'll be stuck with the phrenology of warts or something. By the time I finally clicked over to look at registration, every single opportunity to make a pitch, meet an agent and have someone review your first 20 pages was gone. Sigh. Double sigh. On the up side, however, I did learn my lesson. I did sign up for Willamette Writers Conference coming this August. The registration opened today at 8:00am and there I was at 8:17am looking through all the choices and getting registration done. Unlike my love life, where I make the same mistakes over and over again, my #writinglife has a better learning curve. But now the panic sets in with a vengeance!
I realize I have about a month and a half to get my writing finished, polished and ready for scrutiny (you have to send it in about a month ahead of the conference). And, while I write every day, I go through spurts of organization, calendaring, other misc. admin tasks and finding submission "homes" (for short stories and poetry) maybe once a month. God bless submittable. Now, I feel a hand on my back pushing me to get it together. It's kind of like cleaning when you know company is coming. It gives you motivation.
Let's pretend that I started this five years ago and I'll just continue talking like I was already in your head, okay? Tonight's topic: writing and publishing. Like lots of folks, I write. I know, we're ubiquitous. Every other person you meet is working on a novel. I went to a writing conference over the weekend (actually it was called a publishing conference). First of all, there were tons of people and if you're an introvert like me it takes a few deep breaths just to enter a room with that many strangers. It's good for you though. I keep telling myself that. But this time it was like the planets lined up or something. For one thing I never would have met Allen Cunningham, author of The Green Age of Asher Witherow, among other titles. He was doing one of the workshops at the Write To Publish Conference hosted by Ooligan Press. His talk on developing characters was the kind of workshop session that you stumble into in your dreams - it was simply amazing. Let me tell you it takes quite a bit to amaze me. I'm one of those people who is well, a bit of a pain in the ass when it comes right down to it. Cunningham's got 6 ways to develop characters and I'm still transcribing the notes, but let me tell you the 6 (points) before I sign off. There's desire, detail, contradiction, counterpoint, scene, and transformation. Sometimes you just need to hear something you know in a new way and this was one of those times.
C. D. Finley
Opinionated, wry, sometimes corny, observational humor mostly about writing, but you never know.