January 13, 2011

SCBWI Retreat

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 7:51 am

I know it has been a long time since I updated this blog.  As I said, I decided it was not worth doing every day if I had nothing to write about except what I did the day before or that day when little of it relates to writing.  It was, after all, my intention to use the blog to keep track of my writing progress, but there is not much of that going on now.

I did have a nice experience this past weekend.  I went to the first retreat the regional chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).  It was held at a retreat center on the north side of the city and went from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.  There was no real structure for the retreat.  It was decided to leave it open for what we wanted to do, stay in our rooms and write most of the time or socialize.

The group was limited to 15.  We had dinner on Friday night or Saturday, or for an extra $10.00 could have both, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  The food was fresh cooked and set up buffet style.  That was what I will miss most, it was so good and I didn’t have to cook it or wash the dishes.  I went out for dinner on Saturday though and that was just as well because I heard that the steak that was served that night was not well done.

On Friday, I was getting the impression that I would not have a chance to talk to and meet anyone as I had hoped to because everyone seemed to want to work on their writing in private.  I’m trying to come up with two plots for stories for the ICL (Institute of Children’s Literature) course I am taking and did get a little more of an idea for one, but nothing I can develop yet.

On Saturday night, we had access to a lounge that we could not use until then because another group had it, (there were four groups in the center and that was one reason we had to keep our group small).  A couple of ladies brought wine and we had some snacks.  Then we shared stories we had written, or were working on, and commented on each other’s work.  They all liked my story, so I am on the right track.  I have already submitted it to one book publisher, but it is too early to expect any response yet and if they are not interested I will not hear from them at all.  It makes it sort of hard to know when it is all right to submit it to another publisher, but I will have to go by the response time they give in their guidelines.  If they say they respond in three months and I have not heard from them by then it will be time to send it to someone else.  Our regional director made some suggestions that she feels will make the story better and if I do have to rewrite it because I get nothing but rejection, I will know what needs to be worked on to improve it.

Of our group only two were men.  One was more of an illustrator than writer and felt out-of-place because of that besides the gender, but he displayed art work for picture books he is working on and got some feed back.  He left on Saturday.  The other gentleman announced on Sunday at breakfast that he decided that he does not want to write for children.  He probably thought that would be easier than writing for adults or teens.  A lot of people do, until they find out how difficult it is to express ideas in very simple language when we are used to using a more extensive vocabulary.  Anyway, since he said he doesn’t want to write for children, we won’t be seeing him at other functions unless he changes his mind again.

I got pictures of our group and the director is going to make up a list of emails so we will be able to keep in touch with each other.  All of us agreed that we had a great time and we would like to do it again with a few changes and maybe have them more often.


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