It was a dark and stormy night….
Not really. It was cloudy with a breeze that whispered of possibilities. Other than that, a perfect day to hold SCBWI Writer’s Days at the Claiborne School in San Gabriel.
I arrived extra early with my carpool buddy and volunteer, Beth Navarro, who's picture book GRAMBO just hit the shelves. Feeling giddy down to my toes, I knew for the next two days I would have access to a wealth of knowledge and experience in Children's publishing. Exactly what I needed to take my writing to the next level.
This year's Writer's Days had a total of 200 attendees, ranging from beginners to seasoned vets with numerous books under their belt. 170 attendees signed up for the all day Sunday Intensives. The event took well over 200 hours to pull together, with our Regional Advisers, Lee Wind, Sarah Laurenson and Sally Jones Rogan working full-time hours some days. Eleven volunteers on Saturday as well as six on Sunday made this event possible. Jobs ranging from launching registration, securing presenters, providing snacks and boxed lunches, printing signs, to stuffing packets with handouts are just part of what it takes to make this two day event possible.
The utterly delightful Katherine Applegate's Keynote entitled "Frog and Toad at the Hunger Games with ten rules for Genre-Jumping and Career-Building from a Seasoned Hack...I mean Pro," was phenomenal. Katherine encouraged us writers to venture out of our LCZ (literary comfort zone) and explore our LSP (literary scary place). As a former romance writer turned prolific YA author, Katherine dove head-first into LSP with her best-selling 2013 Newbery Medal for THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN.