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Fall Philly notes

On Saturday, I went to the Fall Philly conference held by the Eastern PA SCBWI chapter. It was wonderful to meet the extremely cute and bubbly Deena (deenaml), and to see my good friend Rita (ritajr), whom I've not seen in far too long, my friend Jenn (writerjenn), who recently started a blog (and signed with an agent -- woot!), and to see some of my Eastern PA friends like Marilyn and Laurie and Cathy and Ellen and Cherie. (Great — now I sound like the lady on Romper Room, looking through her magic birthday mirror.)

Here are my thank-you notes to some of the presenters:

Dear Dianne Ochiltree: Thank you for your "spaghetti" approach to talking about picture books. Quite a bit of what you threw against the wall stuck. I really liked your point that picture books are deserving of lots of time and research, and that they need what all good stories need (besides a beginning, middle and end): good characters, strong settings, active plots, lively pacing and an emotional payoff, all without being preachy or teachy. You rock.

Dear Stephen Barbara: Thanks for the advice on how to be a highly effective novelist, even if novels aren't exactly my milieu (yet). Some of what you said applies anyway, like your advice that writers need to be keyed into stories that matter to people, and be passionate story tellers. Also, your point about geniuses was, well, genius. I didn't know that one of the commonalities among geniuses is the act of repetition. Your point is well-taken, and I will continue to write and revise.

Dear Joyce Moyer Hostetter: Your discussion of writing historical fiction was terribly useful to me, even though I'm writing biography (which is theoretically nonfiction). Your dedication to research and to nailing down the details of a time period by looking at other primary sources, including popular music, prices of goods, and more, is really inspiring. I'll be checking out your blog more often!

Dear Laurie Halse Anderson: Thanks for the encouragement, which you gave me both privately and as part of your presentation. Your advice to keep the business/career part of writing in a little box and to make the writing part of writing the central core was something I needed to hear. As was your admonishment to decrease internet, TV and movie-watching time. To say nothing of your exhorting all of us to get off our asses and run/walk/swim a bit each day, not just as a health benefit, but as a boon to our writing. You so rock. Thanks also for the shout-out on your blog.

The next Eastern PA conference is the Poconos conference in the spring. Guests will include T.A. Barron and Jordan Sonnenblick. Keep your eyes out for that one, if you're interested, because it fills up fast!

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( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
Sounds very nice :) Thanks for sharing, Kelly!
Oct. 1st, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
You are very welcome!
Oct. 1st, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
Does this mean I need to stop eating my fettucine alfredo at the computer?

Glad you had such a great conference. :)
Oct. 1st, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
Fetticine alfredo -- yum!
Oct. 1st, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the update, Kelly. I have this dream of someday traveling around to the various regional conferences. The Eastern PA SCBWI is one of the ones at the top of my list.
Oct. 1st, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC)
It's pretty awesome. You should totally consider sending out proposals (for the regions that take them, like New England) and publicity materials (for the others, to the RAs or the conference organizers where you can find them). They usually pay your airfare and hotel, plus a small stipend, plus let you into the conference for free if you're part of the faculty. And you're decidedly qualified to be on faculty. Oh -- plus, they typically offer your books for sale, and you get to sign them too. :)
Oct. 1st, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
You lucky thang.
Oct. 1st, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
Don't I know it?
Oct. 2nd, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
It sounds like it was heavenly. Thanks for sharing your sweet letters.
Oct. 2nd, 2007 12:39 pm (UTC)
You're welcome -- I tried to work a few points in there without tipping their entire speeches. I hope that came across!
Oct. 2nd, 2007 01:05 am (UTC)
I can't make it to Poconos this April, but for all who can, Jordan Sonnenblick's books rock, and he immediately replied to my gushing email about DRUMS when I finished it, and was so humble and sweet, gotta love him already. So everyone who CAN go, go for me! :)

And, b/c I've been given permission to post this everywhere, yes, Kelly is even more gorgeous in real life than her glamour conference shots. ;)
Oct. 2nd, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
Hee. And I agree about Jordan's talent. I interviewed him earlier this year, and he was great.
Oct. 2nd, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
Thanks for recapping the Philly conference. I wish I could have been there - it looked like a great lineup. I really wish I could have heard Laurie's comments about exercise & writing. I always have my best ideas either right when I wake up or in the middle of my morning run. I really do think there's a connection.
Oct. 2nd, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
I'll email you with that bit, if'n you want.
Oct. 2nd, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC)
Yes, please! I'm kmessner at katemessner dot com (no spaces). Thanks!
Oct. 2nd, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)
I was crushed as a child that the Romper Room lasy never called out my name :(

Thanks for the fun TY notes to the presenters. Fun to read and it sounds like LHA's presentation would have been a good one for me too.
Oct. 2nd, 2007 04:14 am (UTC)
lady ... Romper Room lady - I wish you could edit LJ posts ...
Oct. 2nd, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
The Romper Room lady never saw me either, no matter how much I jumped up and down and waved. In my living room.

I'll email you later with a wee bit of my LHA notes.
Oct. 2nd, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
I was jumping and waving too ;)

Thanks Kelly!
Oct. 6th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
That does sound like a great conference! Laurie Halse Anderson! Wow!
Oct. 6th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
She is made of awesome.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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