I spent this past weekend—plus the Thursday and Friday that preceded it—at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Oregon Chapter’s Fall Retreat at the Silver Falls State Park Conference Center. As always (I’ve been a regular attendee for almost twenty years) it was an outstanding event. The combination of workshops, presentations, quiet time to think and write, a stunning forest environment, and fantastic food made this event, as always, a treasured highlight in my year.
Speakers this year were:
- Karen Grencik, who led a workshop in “Finding your Authentic Voice and Writing from the Heart” and taught us all that we can be poets
- Michele Torrey, who shared techniques for the various stages of revision in “Navigating the Rewriting Road”
- Ellen Hopkins, who discussed and provided an exercise for finding character motivation in her talk “So What?”
- Emma Dryden, who led us through an alien new publishing world in “Traversing the Digital Landscape: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Headed”
- Suz Blackaby, who provided our Sunday morning, before-you-return-to-the-real-world motivation in a talk entitled “Pitfalls and Promises, Get Going and Set Goals”
I returned home with an enhanced understanding of myself as a writer, some new ways of looking at my work as I go through the process of revision, a new tool for helping me better understand and create consistent characters, and goals for October, November, and December, not to mention an opportunity to submit my novel for middle school readers to agent Karen Grencik.
I also came home having enjoyed old friends (who like me were “repeat offenders”) and made many new.
We laughed a lot, talked a lot, and learned a lot—and not just from the speakers. One woman I visited shared a screenwriting technique for character development that is going to help me make sure I have multi-dimensional minor characters in my stories, in addition to well-rounded protagonists.
I am eager to get to work on my next revision project and to write a new novel in November during NaNoWriMo.
Thank you Robin, Judi, and our whole SCBWI Oregon Board for an awesome retreat!