We began with registration and fellowship. This was the first time, since our last CWHV conference in June 2019, that many conference attendees met face to face. Attendees chatted, shared coffee and cookies and genuinely enjoyed seeing old writer friends.
Our opening speaker was Alison Weiss, acquisitions editor at Pixel+Ink. In 2016, she was named a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. She was friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and well prepared. Besides lecture and discussion, there were writing exercises and a three-page handout.
Alison discussed different approaches to planning and building a series across diverse age levels and genres. We discussed the different kinds of series, developing your character through interview, packing a suitcase and a letter from your character’s nemesis. We worked on our pitches and brainstormed book ideas for series potential. You can follow her on twitter @alioop7 and learn more about Pixel+Ink at pixelandinkbooks.com
Our second presenter was K. L. Going, an award-winning author. Her first novel, FAT KID RULES THE WORLD was named a Michael Printz Honor Book, and was included on YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults and on their list of Best Books for the Past Decade. Kelly has participated in prior conferences and is always a joy to listen to.Kelly talked about different strategies to explore the creative process. Her exercises were unique with multiple stations, one table dealt with taste, texture and smell. Another table offered multiple cards with varying characters, settings and situations.
There was a table with enlarged black and white photographs that inspired me to write a backstory. What are they doing? Where are they going? Other tables offered prompt cards and postcards to stimulate one's creative juices.
Critiques were offered on-site by Alison Weiss, K.L.Going and Jalen Garcia-Hall (editorial assistant with Scholastic, Inc.)
We want to thank our presenters and our industrious attendees for supporting us and making our return to hosting conferences an informative and fun afternoon!