10 things from LA SCBWI: Part 1

August 12, 2009

Rather than summarize the whole four days in LA, I thought I’d go with a highlight reel. See, I’m working on my book 3 summary this week, and all my summary genius could be used up on this entry if I’m not careful. Ah, such a delicate balancing act we writers play.
Also, I didn’t really take good notes, unless you count LL & SA with a heart around it enlightening. And I’m a photo failure, so any pictures I include are swiped from other folks or from my I-Phone.
So, without further tangent, save it be the tangents I include in the lists (and let’s be honest, this whole blog is a steady stream of non-connected tangents), I give you my list, which for some funky reason all starts with F.
Um, the F list?

My little bro lives in So Cal, so he picked me up from the airport and took me to Santa Monica, where we walked the pier, sniffed funnel cakes (but did not indulge), did the obligatory foot dip in the ocean, and ate at a wonderful Italian place along the boulevard that had never met two people so intent on inhaling carbs. MORE BREAD PLEASE! MORE.
I’m pretty good about not missing my family until I am with them, and then every goodbye is pretty tough because we are so spread out and on such different schedules, I never know when I’ll see them again. But! If you want to see them for me, go to Disneyland and watch my sis-in-law in like thirty different parades. She is a rock star. And my bro ain’t too bad himself.

On Friday, after a wonderful conference opening, I went to lunch with some tenners–Bree Despain, Matthew Kirby, Christy Raedeke, Suzanne Young, Jen Cervantes, Denise Jaden, Kimberly Derting–and book bloggers–Vania, Khy, Catt and Alicia. It was all arranged by the wonderful Kimberly Derting, she of BODY FINDER fame. Oh, and although I didn’t get a chance to talk to them, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl and Holly Black joined us later. Big party.
My favorite moment was when we were all standing around outside, waiting for a table, and Jay Asher (author of 13 Reasons Why, like I need to tell you that) approached. The blogger girls were beyond excited. Not two minutes later, Magic Johnson, sorry MAGIC JOHNSON, walked right around the group and into the Pink Taco Restaurant. Agape and open-mouthed, I started poking everyone around me. Did you see him? Did you see him? MAGIC is in our midst!
No. Nor did they care. Because there was Jay Asher before them. What do they care about some NBA legend? It made me so happy to be with these people, because (no offense to Jay Asher), to them Jay Asher was a bigger deal. I so love fellow bookworms!
Also, at the lunch, I got one of the greatest gifts ever. Khy brought all the authors a bag filled with little things from our books/blogs. I got tons of princessy goodness, including a tiara I may now sleep with at night, but also some new lip gloss! I’d just had my other one confiscated in the airport security line, so it was a very special present.

I wish I had more pics from this, but here is one I yanked from Catt of The Dream Reader, who made a cute shirt with stuff about all our books on it.

Speaking of that picture, you can see some of the food I ate. Eating wasn’t cheap–I think I spent somewhere around 5.6 million total over the four days–but worth it. For some reason, I never take important pictures, like me with famous author, but I always remember to snap a pic of my meal. 

The greatest sweet potato fries ever

I love this picture because I look psycho. I’m eating my 15 dollar sticky bun french toast. I can feed my family for a month on that kind of moola, but they did add blueberries, so…. mmmmmmm

It’s bound to happen when you get 1,000 neurotic writers in a room together. There was this constant buzz at the conference, like you couldn’t sit down for a second because you might miss out. And I did miss out on a few things because I ditched a class here or there to take a nap or indulge in some alone time. I’m not exactly an introvert, but my days are usually spent with my computer and two toddlers. By the end of the day, my jaw ached from all the jabbing. That could also teach me I should listen more and talk less, but oh well.
It was also interesting to watch authors intent on talking to a particular editor/agent. I’d heard horror stories of authors who pushed manuscripts under bathroom stalls, but didn’t quite believe it. Most of the writers I know–from newbie to pro–are professional and gracious. They know what is appropriate behavior. But I did discover a group hanging out by the escalators because they heard an editor was getting out of their critique soon. They were plotting who would get to say what, in which order, and other routes the editor may take if they didn’t appear soon. Then, when the editor appeared… ambush. They all just started talking, abandoning their previous plans. And the editor… oh, poor thing. I wanted to give them some of my sweet potato fries, except that is pretty stalkerish too. Plus, I didn’t really want to share.

I consider myself somewhat of an accidental fantasy writer, being as I’m not an expert in the genre and had no clue PRINCESS FOR HIRE would take on such a magical turn. So it was really beneficial to hear Holly Black, a pro in the field, speak about the elements of fantasy. Specifically, how each story needs to have a human plot line that weaves in with the fantastical. She did this line thing that showed rising action and it was so CLEAR that they way I write/read will forever be changed.

OK, that’s all for today! Stay tuned tomorrow for the rest !