by Hazel Buys
October was a whirlwind month! I gave my writing self a BIG gift this year: attendance at both the James River Writers and the SCBWI conferences. My money was well spent. Participation is key, of course. With that in mind, I signed up for pre-conference intensives at both gatherings, as well as a pitch session and a consultation.
The JRW conference offered a track strategy for choosing sessions, offering ‘Exploring Genre,’ ‘Improving Your Craft,’ ‘Getting Published,’ ‘The Life of a Story’ and ‘Promoting Your Book.’ I chose from several different tracks and found the categories useful for prioritizing my interests. At the Library of Virginia Literary luncheon, I was surprised and delighted to find myself sitting at the table with Kevin O’Malley. This funny and immensely talented man spent the time not eating, but drawing an illustration for each person at the table. I saw him bestow more in several sessions I attended. Unexpected blessings!
Cynthia Lord, keynote speaker (Rules) at the SCBWI conference (“The Plusses and Perils of Writing What You Know”), was impressive and inspirational. Her personal experiences on her way to publication of an award-winning debut novel resonated with everyone and gave us much to think about. It was my first experience at the conference’s new location at the Holiday Inn – Dulles. The meeting rooms were comfortable, spacious and all on one floor, with accommodations for those staying overnight just down the hall.
Did you attend either conference? Which one? Leave a comment with your thoughts and take-away moments to share. We’d love to hear from you.