Sunday, July 27, 2014

Things To Do at the SCBWI Conference

by Hilde Garcia

It's conference time again and I am excited.  Every year I attend, it is always a new experience leaving me inspired and with many new friends.  For some folks, it might seem a bit daunting.  If you are new, there is a Pre Conference Orientation to help you get off to a great start. 

And if you visit the SCBWI website, you have a wealth of information you can review, especially the DO's and Don'ts PDF.  Click on the link below to take you to that most excellent document.

But if you are a little nutty and want to take a different approach and have some fun in the process, just relive with us some of Pen and Ink's most fun antics throughout the years.

I have been attending since 2007. The conference always seems to fall on my birthday weekend and the best present I can be given by my family is three days of R and R. 

In 2010, Pen and Ink decided to attend as a group. And if you remember Gypsy Rose Lee, Kris decided it wasn't enough to simply  attend, we had to have a gimmick. Kris suggested we create a picture book. And we did it up Hollywood Style.

Two days before the conference, Kris, Sue, and I were having manicures and then Taquito Tuesday at El Torito.  Kris found an idea in her margarita.  "We should do a pirate alphabet picture book at the conference."

We looked into our margaritas but only saw alcohol. 

"And how should we do this?" I wolf down a taquito.

We should ask authors at the conference to pick a letter and say it into the camera in their best pirate voice."

"It sounds good to me," says Sue.

"Me too," I say, "but who is going to break it to Lupe?"

"Just bake him some cookies and he will cave," Kris says.

So we did.  We designate Lupe as our cameraman. Sue is our costumer. And Kris and I began to shanghai victims… hem, potential participants to take part in the fun.  I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical that people would want to do it, but we were surprised at how little convincing people needed.  They were quite willing indeed.

And you wouldn't believe the caliber of pirates we had join our ship!  You will have to click on the link to see the cast of bandits… I mean… award winning authors extraordinaire.  My daughter did our art work.

Click on me if you know what's good for ya!

Once we finished The Pirate Alphabet, Stephanie Gordon and Judith Enderle, fixed us with their minatory eyes and said, "What you gonna do next year?"

We felt obligated and a bit scared to say no.

SO- we decided to send my hamster, J. J., to the conference.  There was only one problem.  He died. Sue found a great stand in named Penny. We were assured she was young and not pregnant.  Two days later, she gave birth to 6 hamsters.  

Then the thought hit us.  

How hard is it to write when you are a mom? And even get out of the house to go anywhere?  Thus was born the hilarity of Penny Goes to the Conference for a MS Consultation. 

She signed up for a constellation and sought advice from her fellow non-furry writer pals.  We didn't expect her to actually get a consultation with an agent, but that she did, with none other than the excellent Ms. Linda Pratt.  Want to see our hilarity?  Click below.  

 Visit our post and click on both videos!
Visit our post and click on both videos for maximum fun!
You can also read Penny's pages on the post.  

Other things you can learn to do at a conference.  Practice your dance skills, learn to wrap, bake cookies to share, work on your smashing costume for the Saturday Night gala. 

One year, my husband and I, dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood and Lin Oliver was so tickled by it, she still calls us by those names!  

And when the theme was blue, so were we! I played Happy Birthday on the bongos to Elizabeth Law and years later, it lead to a submission to her office.

The year we wore pajamas, we came in our own Say Goodnight "moon" PJ's, bottoms optional. (We made shirts to spoof Go the F to sleep picture book).

We were part of the 2012 Flash Mob. Good luck trying to find me in it. And if you have a talented husband, get him to rap!
Click to see the 2012 Flash Mob tribute to Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser!

That's my guy!
By the way, the best writing advice I can give you, is networking advice:

Pay attention to your costume. Competition is fierce and prizes are awarded! 

Here are some parting thoughts to make the most of your weekend:

1. Go up to people and simply say hi. They will say hi back. I did and here's our new friend Nuria.  If you visit Rita Crayon Huang's Flickr photo album, she has thousands of awesome photos of the last 6 conferences.

2. When people ask you if you are published, say you are "pre-published."

3. When you shake someone's hand, really shake it. Nothing is worse than a lackluster shake. Look them in the eye and smile when you shake. Trust me, it's a dying art form, but one still worthy of being practiced.

4. Consume alcohol respectably.

5. And make sure that if you have any "costume" pieces still on your face or body, you quickly leave them in the elevator before you crawl to your chair on Sunday morning. (Actually, the year we did the 1970's theme, my peace sign came with me to the Sunday morning keynote).

Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser at SCBWI have created what is the closest thing to Nirvana for me. I cherish these days that refuel my soul and jump start my writing for the year. 

No matter what, come prepared to smile, have fun, and be inspired.

From all of us at Pen and Ink, thanks for reading!

Happy 5th Anniversary to our group!
Here's the whole gang. Lupe, Sue, Me and Kris, then my junior inkies- Sam and Victoria and the one and only silent technical partner, David "The Rapper" Krol.  Without him, Skype and many other tech stuff would escape us!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your memories post…inspiring. Enjoy!


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