Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Conference Wrap-Up

The SCBWI conference was sooo awesome. I'm not a huge taker of notes, but here are my big takeaways:

Libba Bray is hilarious. One of my favorite bits of hers was to not chase the hot pterodactyl boyfriend. In other words, don't chase trends; let your book be what it is. After all, by the time it hits the shelves, that trend will be over anyway. A lot of people said the same thing. During the agent's panel, they kept saying they don't like chasing trends, they like MAKING trends. Ben Schrank from Razorbill said the same. You should know the market but not write FOR it. But that doesn't mean that you can't follow a trend if that's the story you need to tell. A lot of people were flipping because their *insert brilliant idea here* was uber similar to something else out there, but the consensus was that if the book is good, the book is good. Period.

I went to a section on Writing Fantasy, where I met the lovely Lee Wind, who is a fellow Cybils judge (and did I mention how lovely he is?). The general perception is that traditional high fantasy is getting softer. Paranormal romance is in its heyday, although some people think it will soon be over and others think it's here to stay. Dystopian is huge, probably because of Hunger Games. And steampunk is on an upswing. Of course, after they said that, they reminded us not to chase trends. :)

I went to the Blueboarder dinner on Saturday night with about 30-40 other people, along with a herd of Elevensies AND Stephanie Ruble, AND other kewl people. I actually took pictures. Sometime in the next millenium, I will go downstairs and upload them.

Then, there was the trip to Random House. I think my kewlness quotient went up about 40% just walking in the door. Rock Star Wendy, my editor, is remarkably nice (and lucid, considering her rock star status). We got to talk covers and blurbs and future projects, and ever since that meeting, I've been walking around making a constant "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! sound in my head.

I'm sure the people around me are thankful I'm not externalizing that.

Then we went to a fancy restaurant down the street. Apparently, Tom Brokaw eats there all the time, although we didn't see him. That's right. Now I run in the same circles as Tom. Actually, we're besties now.

I think MY kewlness quotient is up 40% now too.


My only regret is that there were a few people I really wanted to run into that I didn't get to see. You know who you are. :(

32 comments:

Scillius Maximus said...

Awesome. Look forward to hearing more.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

This is great. Thanks for posting for us that didn't get to go.

CKHB said...

OMG I somehow only just now realized that I qualified to become a member of the semi-secret order of the blog ninja! MY KEWLNESS FACTOR HAS TRIPLED!

Ahem. Glad you had a good time at the conference!

Donna Gambale said...

So sad we (the First Novels Club) didn't see you there! Glad you had fun too!

Kristi said...

Sounds amazing -- the big conferences scare me but I hope to attend one someday. I hope you put up some pics!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Yep. I'm still jealous.

It sounds like an incredible experience, Carrie. I can't wait to experience a conference like that. Thanks for sharing the fun and learning with us! :-)

Carolyn V. said...

Will a little bit of you Kewlness rub off on me? I hope it does *fingers crossed* (I wanna be Kewl too - say in whisper voice.) The conference sounds soooo coool!!! I am so glad you are letting us hear some of it. Thanks Carrie!

Natalie Whipple said...

Yay! I'm so happy for you and your kewlness:)

Elana Johnson said...

I love the advice here: don't chase trends. I'm glad you had fun, that you have a new bestie and that that EEEEE sound might be fading (?). :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I recently had one of those moments--oh, no, another book that sounds like my WIP, I'm doomed and should toss it to the winds. But your post has helped me remember that each voice is unique and my story may be nothing like any other. Thanks for giving us a quick tour of the conference.
When you said high fantasy is getting softer, did you mean the market is soft right now? Just curious.

And woo-hoo on your Randam House visit!

Carrie Harris said...

Glad you liked it, peeps.

CKHB: Hee. That cracks me up.

Donna: I looked for the bags, but to no avail! There were so many FREAKING PEOPLE there!

Tricia: Yeah, I heard that the market for high fantasy is maybe softer than it was, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for a High Fantasy of Awesomeness. My takeaway was that there's room for ANYTHING of Awesomeness, whether it follows trends or tosses them out the window. It's the awesomeness that counts.

Kim Harrington said...

Wow, so since I met you and you almost met Brokaw, that means I'm two imaginary degrees from Tom Brokaw! :)

K.C. Shaw said...

That sounds like so much fun! I'd feel jealous, but there's no need when I can just live vicariously through your blog posts.

I love the "don't chase trends" advice right after they told you what's hot. :)

Cate Gardner said...

I gave out a definite squee when you mentioned Random House. That must have been an awesome moment.

Kiera Stewart said...

Yeah, what Kim said! You know, I sat right next to you at dinner, so I think I should get some extra kewl points for that. (Although they might have been taken away when, on Monday, I tried desperately to haul luggage down into subway, wearing heals.)

K. M. Walton said...

See, great minds think alike AND remember the same important bits!! I just blogged about Libba and Ben yesterday!!

I also found a photo on Suzanne Young's blog that she took of the writers' intensive...and I am front and center in her photo!!! I put that on my blog too.

Bethany Mattingly said...

So awesome! I can't wait until I get to go to a conference.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Sounds like a superkewl trip! And how exciting to meet with Rockstar Editor and talk covers. EEEEEEE!

Anita Saxena said...

Thanks for sharing the amazing awesomeness that was your trip. Would love to hear more.

Anita Saxena said...

Thanks for sharing the amazing awesomeness that was your trip. Would love to hear more.

Mariah Irvin said...

If I was you, I would be making that "EEEEEEEEEE!" noise out loud.

No self control!

abrokenlaptop said...

This sounds fantastic! I'd love to attend something like that some time. Rock on!

Information may be forthcoming on our Super Kewl, Super Secret Project that I DM'd you about earlier. You guest star, you.

-Mercedes

Kathy McCullough said...

Thanks Carrie! This was great. The hot pterodactyl boyfriend quote will stay in my mind forever. Also, coincidentally, I just emailed my agents today in a panic because I read a book with a similar opening to mine (though entirely different story). Seriously, it was fate to read this post (and sanity-restoring). P.S. Glad to hear Wendy is nice.

storyqueen said...

Shhhhh, don't tell Richard, Batman or Princess Leia, but I think your new spokesperson should be Tom Brokaw.

Seriously.

Shelley

beth said...

Wow. Sounds awesome! I really wish I could have gone...

PJ Hoover said...

i'm so glad you had a great time, Carrie! And you are totally kewl!

Kasie West said...

So does that mean your kewlness quotient is at 160% or so by now? :) I like the reminder of just letting our books be what they are and not worry about trends. Thanks for that. I'm sad I didn't get to go to this, it sounds like it was awesome.

Amy Holder said...

Sounds like an amazing time! Thanks for posting all the kewl details. I wish I could have gone and hope to go next year!

Lisa and Laura said...

So, so exciting. I can only imagine how amazing it must have felt to meet your editor! File that memory away.

jessjordan said...

Yeah yeah yeah, all that's nice, but ... which trend should I write to, damn it?

:)

Candice said...

I love that advice about not following the trend. So often I worry that what I write won't fit, but I write what I write and anything else just wouldn't feel genuine or work for me. Glad you had fun!

sruble said...

It was fun to meet you last weekend Carrie! Hope to meet you again in the future :)