September, 2012

Springfield Writers’ Guild Meeting

Today I had the pleasure of attending the SWG monthly meeting at Heritage Cafe.  During mentor hour, we critiqued work by several authors, mostly picture book manuscripts. I always enjoy reading the work of others, and these manuscripts were engaging: its hard to go wrong with characters like Jerky James, plots that include monsters under the bed, and  humorous musing about thin lipped chickens. Here’s hoping we see all of these in our local book store soon.

The keynote speaker was Brian Katcher, author of Almost Perfect, the 2011 Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award, and Playing With Matches, winner of the 2010-2011 North Carolina Young Adult Book Award and a Show Me Award nominee. Mr. Katcher offered hopeful authors the following tips:

1. Finish the book.

2. Join a writers’ group to help you spot problems in your manuscript.

3. Try entering contests-he got his break this way. Even if you don’t win, your manuscript may catch the eye of an editor or agent.

4. Don’t get dejected by rejections, keep sending your manuscript out.

5. Be ready to rewrite again, and again, and again.

6. Check sites like Writer’s Beware and Editor’s and Predators before signing a contract with an agent or publishing house.

Mr. Katcher was humorous and gave a realistic picture of what it’s like to get your big break. He cautioned authors to remember that you’re only as good as your last novel.  He will be speaking Nov.2-4 at the YA Literature Symposium, Hyatt Regency, St. Louis, and if you are in the area, I recommend you check him out.


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