Thursday, February 4, 2010

SDSU Writers' Conference. Brix, Louise and me in front of a board full of agents names.

Yikes. I'm overwhelmed. Exuberant, Exhilarated, Energized, Exhausted. Three chock-full days at the SDSU Writers' Conference. Listening to sessions on genres, synopses, query letters, pitches, editing, publishing, and even unleashing your primitive dog. And always the big fat bottom line - MONEY. If the Gods of publishing can't make a lot of it, your book is doomed.

My head is spinning. And the hardest part is I realize I've blown it. If I want to conform to the middle-grade genre structure, I shouldn't have all those different viewpoints in my story. I thought they brought my characters alive and helped them interact but all the agents I talked to said, "Only one viewpoint in middle-grade novels. Maybe two max."

Wish I'd heard that before I began writing. Do you know how hard it is to silence those people you have lovingly brought to life and nurtured? Alternatively, I can keep the viewpoints but make the characters older and aim for the young adult market. Either way, lots of sweat and tears. I don't think I can do it. Not yet, anyway. I have to come back down to earth first.

But the agents were all wonderful. Sat next to one at lunch who didn't get to eat a thing because she was pelted with questions from everyone at the table and she patiently put down her fork and answered as if we were all the next J.K. Rowling.

Overall they thought I had a good story and suggested a long reading list of Newbury Award Winners to help with the voice of that age level. They also offered to take a look at it once I've gutted those pesky viewpoints.

Well, that's enough whining. I'm honestly so glad I went. I learnt a lot. And the most inspiring moment came from Robert Dugoni, the bestselling author who gave the keynote address. He said that next time someone asks you what you do, tell them, "I'm a writer." Wow.

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