Monday, May 5, 2014

Oh, snap! Creating bravely and making our mark at NESCBWI14

"Oh, snap!" That was a friend's response when I told her the theme of this year's New England SCBWI conference: Create Bravely: Make Your Mark. The theme really was ever-present this year as keynotes and workshops focused on taking risks. I have nothing but admiration for the attendees who got up in front of every-freakin'-body and pitched their manuscripts for this new thing called Pitchapalooza. (Now that I've seen it and know what's expected, I could see myself doing it next year please don't hold me to that, but signing up without seeing examples? Oh, snap.) Peter H. Reynolds talked about making your mark even if you think you can't draw, and Laurel Snyder rallied us to share the stories only we can tell. Agents and editors urged us to submit manuscripts that don't look like what's out there, particularly in terms of diversity (woot!). Authors encouraged us to look beyond the age categories prescribed by the industry. A Bravery Posse gave out gold stars - literally.

I'm sure the conference partly felt like it was about stepping outside our comfort zones because I was constantly thinking about my own projects, in which I'm doing some of that and hoping I'm getting it right. (We're talking small steps in which I remain wholly myself, as Madeline L'Engle might put it. No murder mysteries are forthcoming from me or anything.) At the risk of being infuriatingly vague, I feel inclined to create at least a little bit bravely.

Who can worry around friendly faces like these?

Simmons reunion! Photo shamelessly swiped from Sandy, co-registrar extraordinaire.

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