Monday, July 23, 2012

Great Writer's Conference Experience Part 1

Dinner at William's Hardware
Last Saturday I attended The Writer’s Plot 2012 Conference in Greenville, SC. It was a relatively small conference – just the kind I like. I know that attending large conferences gives us the opportunity to contact larger publishing houses and to schmooze with more people. But I love the opportunities to get to know the presenters and to have closer interaction with them and other writers. And that happens better for me at smaller conferences.

I had these unbelievable experiences last weekend:
  •          Having a relaxing, chatty breakfast with Harold Underdown and Pat Thomas (Be still, my heart!)
  •        Enjoying a relaxing dinner with Pam Zollman (The Writer's Plot), Katya Jenson (editor), Jessica Alexander (Peach Tree), Diana Flegal (Hartline Agency), Pat Thomas, Alan Gratz and Caroline Eschenberg
  •         Touching base with my friends Vonda Skelton, Samantha Bell, Carol Baldwin, Lisa Fowler, and more
  •         Meeting face-to-face with online friends like Sally Matheny, Edie Melson and Paula Woolf
  •         Visiting one of the most beautiful university campuses I’ve ever seen (Furman)
  •        PLUS having my own Eureka!  moments regarding my WIPs

I am glad I decided to go. Thanks to Pam Zollman and Caroline Eschenberg for pulling together a fantastic event.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share more about the workshops.

Harold Underdown
Today I want to tell you about Harold Underdown.

I’m not sure what kind of expectations I had of meeting Harold Underdown, a person whose name is synonymous with children's publishing. But, he seems to be a nice, ordinary person. He's a great listener, and he shows sincere interest in other people. Our breakfast chat was relaxing and interesting.

Harold is a family man whose career in children’s lit started with his love of reading with his own children.

In his speech he walked us through the first pages of an array of books – classics, new classics, and books new to most of us in the audience. Harold emphasized that the first page makes a promise to our readers of what kind of story this is going to be and what we will gain from our investment of time and heart in the reading. Readers trust us as authors to lead them somewhere meaningful in the pages before them.

His presentation was both enjoyable and inspiring. It was a huge privilege to meet him and to hear him teach.

In my next post (Tuesday) I’ll let you peek over my shoulder as I take notes on Alan Gratz’ presentation, “Fix Your Plot & Conquer the Universe.” (He’s a true Trekkie!)

AND, give you some tips from social networking expert Edie Melson on maximizing the time we as authors spend on social media.


Linda A. said...

I'm so glad you got to attend. It sounds like it was "a must-do event." I look forward to each and every word of your coverage of the sessions. Thanks for sharing the highlights with your readers.

Carol Baldwin said...

Glad you took the opportunity to post all this, Jean! The conference was well worth the time and money.

Jean said...

Thanks, Linda, for dropping in. It really WAS one of those little jewels of a conference.


Jean said...


NOW the hard part -- putting all we heard into practice!


Lisa Fowler said...

Thank you Jean for putting words to our feelings. Each time I come away from something like this I realize how much I have to learn and how far I still have to go!


Vonda Skelton said...

You're right--it was a great conference! I loved getting to meet new faculty members and seeing old friends--like you!

Glad you got to spend time with Pat and Harold. Jealous!

Jean said...

You are so welcomed, Lisa. There is so much to learn about writing well, isn't there?


Jean said...

Thanks, Vonda, for dropping in. I know you are one very busy lady.

Editors and agents (and children's authors) really are just ordinary people for the most part.

No fangs nor claws!


Cathy Biggerstaff said...

Thanks for reporting on the conference. I wanted to go but just had too much going on to manage it. Your reports will make me feel like I was there. I'm glad you got to meet my dear friend, Sally Matheny. Blessings!

Jean said...

You're welcomed, Cathy. I'm looking forward to seeing you and your writing friends in September.


Kristi Butler said...

Wish I could have been there!! Maybe next year!! So glad for all the fun and fellowship you (and so many mutual friends) enjoyed!!