I attended 2 days of the very first WriteOnCon last week, but then had to leave town on Thursday. I look forward to catching up with the third of the conference which I missed. The thing about writers conferences, is that I have attended over a dozen of them… in person. Some of the things the speakers talk about are “old hat” stuff to me.
Here are some things I gleaned from the first two days of the conference:
1) It was fascinating to “listen in” on the thought process of agent Natalie Fisher. She reminded us all that what she mentioned was only her own opinion, and other agents might not feel the same way. It was interesting, and helpful. Learn what the agent to whom you are submitting is looking for.
2) I now have a list of about 100 additional books to read, both about writing, and written for MG/YA. (Oh, the time. The time! How to find the time to do all the reading and writing I want to do!)
3) Stay current! Classics are nice, but some of those loved stories wouldn’t cut it in today’s highly competitive market. Read them. Love them. But write for today’s kids.
4) (related to #3) Kids hate retro. (Thank you, J.S. Lewis.) Don’t write about YOUR childhood, unless it’s a historical novel. Write for today’s kids and about today’s kids.
5) Know what the acceptable word counts are for today’s market. Yes, yes. We each can name several books which break the rules, but unless you are an established author with a great fan following, stick to the rules.
(More to come, both on the first two days, and the third day of WriteOnCon!) (Yeah to the organizers!)