Saturday, October 31, 2009

We Love the SIWC

Wow. Last weekend we attended the Surrey International Writers Conference. Colleen has been going to this conference for about 4 years, learning heaps and gobs (like, not to use the expression "heaps and gobs") about the craft of writing and the business of publishing.
This was Teresa's first year at the conference, and she was very impressed. She loved meeting all the famous authors, but also being in the company of other young writers.
We were bursting with excitement the first day, because we had two pitch sessions scheduled. A member of the SIWC board gave us a piece of wonderful advice before our first pitch session. We were meeting with the most powerful agent at the conference, and she told us that, with so many people pitching to him all the time, we had better be good. Specifically, we had about 15 seconds to catch his interest.
No pressure, but the future of your professional career depends on the next 15 seconds.
So we came up with a catchy opening line, and he responded with a question that set Teresa up to give him a witty response, and suddenly we were all friends.
And he kept saying "I love it!" as we explained more aspects of the plot and the characters.
He asked good questions we could happily answer.
And then- oh, joy! He reached into his pocket and drew out a business card. And he requested to see the first 50 pages.

So we walked out of the pitch room on air.
Then we walked back and pitched to a rep from a major media conglomerate. We tried the same pitch, and it completely threw her. She could not wrap her head around the plot, or the characters or . . . anything about it, really.
She kept asking us to define the central conflict in the book, and we were trying to explain that the conflict was evolving throughout, which she didn't trust us to be able to manage.
There was absolutely no way that she was interested in our book.
Thank God that we didn't meet her first! Our confidence would have been shot. But as it was, we walked away saying, oh, well, I guess it isn't a good fit.

And then Terry Brooks and Robert Sawyer vetted our manuscript and made very useful suggestions. And were very positive about our writing.

And we sat in on a bunch of useful seminars, and learned more. And we enjoyed just talking about writing with so many kindred spirits. Teresa said "Not only are we in a place full of kindred spirits. We're in a place full of people who know what "Kindred Spirit" means!"

This week, we'll make the suggested changes, go over the first 50 pages to be sure they are as polished as we know how to make them, and then we submit them. And we wait to see what the verdict will be. But none of this would be possible without the SIWC.
We love the SIWC.
A lot.

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