A few years ago I traveled from Alaska to Utah to attend the week-long Writing & Illustrating For Young Readers Conference.
The two things I love most about this conference are the atmosphere and the instruction. It is very much about becoming a better writer and not about just pitching your writing to agents and editors. Mornings are spent in a writers workshop critiquing each others’ work and receiving expert instruction. Afternoons have special sessions plus time set aside to talk with the agents and editors.
The year I went the two conference hosts:
and Cheri Pray Earl
ran it like they were hosting Saturday Night Live so be prepared to laugh out loud often.
From this year’s Conference website:
All writers and illustrators taking the morning sessions have the opportunity to work for 20 hours on their writing/illustrating and publishing skills. The average class has 13 students (plus an assistant for the teacher).
This year they are offering nine different week-long morning classes: Here are descriptions of two:
Everyone should bring roughly twenty pages of a work in progress. We’ll critique ten or so pages at a time and try to get everyone twice. You can opt to have the same ten pages done twice. We’ll have an instruction period each day where we cover critical elements of story like plot, character, dialogue, voice, research, etc. We’ll look at examples of authors who have done these things successfully and talk about market place strategies. Everyone will contribute written comments on the manuscripts we are critiquing, including me. You will also be required to laugh at least one of my jokes and have your hair in artistic disarray by the end of the week.
For writers who want a bit more private instruction on their writing (10 attendees)
- Smaller class size (10 attendees)
- 55 pages of your novel discussed OR three picture books
- Synopses and/or cover letters discussed
- More individualized attention
- Special guest visits
- Marketing instruction
- 10-minute pitch session with an editor or agent
Visit the conference website to read about the other seven classes offered. For most people it’s probably too late to plan on going to this conference this year since it is only two weeks away but for a conference like this it is a good thing to plan ahead and bring your best work, that way you can receive critique and instruction on a piece that you have already pushed to its limits. However, if you are ready to attend this year, there are still openings in several of the workshops.
Thanks for stopping by.