Just returned from the Houston Writers Guild Conference.
1. Meeting the talented Nikki Loftin in person. I had the honor of reading her entry “Gingerbread” in the novel contest last year. I’m relieved to say I gave it a perfect score…as it will be coming out under the title “The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy.” From Publishers Marketplace “Nikki Loftin’s debut novel THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY, pitched as Coraline meets Hansel and Gretel, about a young girl whose seemingly delightful new school hides frightening secrets, to Laura Arnold at Razorbill, in a two-book deal, for publication in Summer 2012, by Suzie Townsend at Fineprint Literary Management (World).”
I look forward to reading more than the first ten pages!
2. Hearing Chuck Sambuchino speak…and answer questions. Great blog about agents/finding one/what they want/etc at http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/
Fortunately, I have an agent that I love, but Chuck still had excellent advice I need to take to heart. “Throw away your remote control.” I’ve got to stop worrying that “this novel is taking too long” and start spending more time on it so it ultimately will take less time. More hours per day=less days overall.
3. Chris Rodgers gave an inspiring nuts and bolts look at the Writer’s Toolkit. My takeaway? In every scene have your character chasing the ball, catching the ball or dodging the ball.
4. Being around inspiring, interesting writers, editors, and agents. I enjoyed speaking with Sarah Cortez, the writer, poet, editor of anthologies, and cop, Nina Godiwalla, author of the new memoir “Suits on Wall Street,” hearing Rodney Walther, author of the novel “Broken Laces” lay open the world of self-publishing, and getting an inside look at traditional publishing from Terri Bischoff, editor at Midnight Ink. Also heard an excellent talk on the perfect pitch from Katherine Sands, author of (my bible this time last year) “Making the Perfect Pitch.” My fellow Writers Ink member, Trakena Prevost must have made some excellent pitches, as she got several manuscript requests at this conference, too!
Once again, Roger Paulding put together an impressive line-up. Hopefully I can convince Stacey Keith my co-judge from this year’s writing contest to do a little guest blogging…while we’re both still fired up.