More Connections

This past Friday and Saturday, September 10 and 11, 2010, I attended a writing conference in Boise. And I made connections. Connections with other authors, an editor, and an agent, connections with my own writing, and connections with my past. Wow! That's a lot for one conference to accomplish. With his storytelling skills and emotional presentation, Chris Crutcher dared me to confront my own emotions in my writing. In my 15 minute critique with Cheryl Klein and my first page critique with Cheryl and Jill Corcoran, I learned that the reader has to connect with the main character right from the beginning. A book is not all about plot. All these years I've been told to start right in the action which I mistook as throwing in lots of plot. I made the connection that even though I don't need the strong issues that appear in most of Chris Crutcher's books, there are children who need those books. I still need to craft books that connect with readers on an emotional, real level even if the issues aren't deep and dark. From Jill Corcoran, I learned that I want an agent who is as passionate about my work as she is about her clients. Thank you to Kelly Milner Halls who connected with my daughters and with me as a friend. She is lovely and genuine. Congratulations, Kelly, on landing a passionate agent, Jill.

Meet our Idaho stars. I knew them when…

Three of my writing friends from the Treasure Valley will be speaking on a debut author panel at the "Writing With the Stars" conference this Saturday, September 11th at Boise State University. I first met Sarah Tregay during the Boise writing conference in 2006. She has faithfully attended a writing group and conferences since then. Now she's sold her first novel to Katherine Tegen Books/Harper Collins. I also met Amy Allgeyer Cook through our SCBWI writing conferences. She won a contest through a small press, marketed and prepared for the debut of her novel this summer, and then took matters into her own hands to release her novel, The Iron Bodkin. I met Laura Bingham when we were both tutors for Heredity at Ricks College in 1992. A couple of years ago she walked into our writing group with a fantasy manuscript and a determination to be published. She since has worked like crazy to market her YA fantasy, Alvor, complete more manuscripts, and acquire an agent. She's a writing and marketing maniac. During a writing class at BYU, my fabulous instructor, Ann Cannon, told us that if you have talent, determination, and discipline you will be published. That's what has made these three authors our Idaho stars. Talent, determination, and discipline.