Tip of the Day: Will there be good weather for traveling to Syracuse in January? Let me consult my Series of Unfortunate Events Magic 8 Ball … “Misfortune Imminent.”
Next week, I’ll be attending the annual Syracuse, NY SCBWI New Year’s Resolution conference for the West/Central Upstate NY chapter. This will be my second year there. Last year it was so cold (how cold was it?) I was pouring myself cups of hot water just so I could hold them and thaw out my fingers.
Of course, to us native snowbelters, traveling in snowstorms is a matter of pride. Of course I can drive in the snow, I learned to drive in ten feet of snow, during the blizzard of ’91, I was driving back from a Dead show at midnight. In the Catskills. Under an avalanche. [No, I really wasn’t, but don’t tell anyone and ruin my street cred.] So I don’t mind the drive to Syracuse. But I wonder what the guest speakers get out of it. Why would an editor from a big house in NYC decide to come to Syracuse in January for a business trip? Does she get danger pay? Is it a badge of honor around the office, a sign that one is willing to risk it all to find the next great children’s author?
Anyway, we have our choice of afternoon sessions. Maybe you all can help me decide which to attend because I can’t make up my mind. There are two sessions for nonpublished authors: a basics of the publishing world session and a first pages session.
Last year, I went to the first pages session: this is authors reading the first page of their WIPs and the other attendees and the guest editor commenting on it. I don’t like reading my work aloud to a group of people. Remember in elementary school, when you didn’t know how to spell a word so you ran the letters together? So maybe the teacher wouldn’t be able to tell if you had written an “a” or an “e”? When I read my work aloud, I do the aural equivalent of that. Maybe if I read really fast, nobody will notice if I’ve overwritten.
On the other hand, this session seems more craft-oriented than Basics of Publishing, and my head is in a craft-oriented place right now. What’s the point of finding out what houses need if I don’t have enough completed work to send them anything?
It all comes down to what I’m hoping to bring back from this conference. Actually, my main reason for going is that the keynote speaker is Tamora Pierce. Oh, yeah! So maybe I’m looking for inspiration. I don’t expect to be the next Tamora Pierce, but maybe being Kate Fall, writer, isn’t so impossible.
--Kate, Miss Apprentice Writer