Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2012 Working Writer’s Retreat

            For the second year in a row, I attended SCBWI-LA's Working Writer's Retreat. Here's a pic from last year's retreat:

            Luckily, this time I did not get laryngitis from singing too much karaoke. As I mentioned in the previous post, I had just begun a total rewrite of my book, which meant I was reading some pretty raw stuff to agents and editors, but also it afforded me the flexibility to make some fairly drastic changes in between sessions, rather than being a phrase hoarder (people usually say this as "Kill Your Darlings," but I'm a nonconformist). Though frustrating at times, it was definitely a learning experience to be that fast and free with my words.
            In the meantime, I’d been dragging my picture book dummy with me to every focus group, and finally one of my group members told the editor who was faculty to take a look at my book. (I was so averse to being seen as shoving it in her face, I couldn’t work up the nerve to do it myself.) After the final readings on the last day, I approached her with the picture book and she took a look at it. 

The working cover:
            She laughed at it and kept saying it was cute, but we were in the middle of the hallway and I felt terrible, like I had basically done the "hand the manuscript under the bathroom stall" move. She recommended I send it to a particular agent, who I came to find out is like one of the best agents for picture books in the business. Whoa. She also said I could send her the new draft of my novel when I was done with it. *choke*  
           Post-edit: So Julia, you ask, did you query the agent she recommended? Did you send your novel to the editor right away after finishing the rewrite? No. No, I did not. Because I am chicken. This has got to change. And it will.

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