Wednesday, February 07, 2007
if i can make it there, i’ll make it anywhere
“Let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. ... Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”
Today, my head is full of New York City. Mom and I leave the day after tomorrow, so we spent some time scouting out the area around our hotel (coffee shops and bookstores nearby!), learning all we can online and through the brochures that SCBWI sent us. I’ve also cruised through my once-immense stack of young adult fiction, and I only have a few left… the ones I’m less interested in and will probably give up on. I’m starting to crave classic British literature instead: Shakespeare, Dickens, Collins, Austen… I’m getting a little weary of plucky teenage protagonists!
But, it’s been fun. And I found some new favorite authors in the young adult field! The all-around top honors go to Cornelia Funke: nothing could beat Inkheart.
I’m trying to prepare mentally for the conference, as well. I’ve only ever had contact with the Christian publishing industry, both through my internships and through two conferences I attended in Chicago. This is my first up-close look at the (huge!) general market, the New York houses, the high-powered agents. I’m excited, and just a little nervous. But I’m lucky, too, to be going in this stage of my writing life. I’m free to observe and learn. I don’t have anything to sell yet, no editors I’m trying to seek out, no immediate or pressing need to “network,” as they say. (Can you imagine me smoothly handing out business cards? Ha! I’m not there yet. Though I do have the cards… just in case.)
Mostly, I want to learn about the process other writers go through. What do they do? I’m less worried about the elements of fiction, the pieces of plottery, the forms of conflict. I always need to practice what I know of them, but right now, I want to learn fresh things. What does a writer look like at ten in the morning? What does she do on weekends? How does she refine her ideas, how does she grow original personalities out of the air, what surprising habits most benefit her, what fears pester her all the time? (And are they the same fears that pester me?)
I do feel like I’ve made progress—lots of it!—since the summer, and February has (so far) redoubled my conviction that I am where I’m meant to be. So I’m excited to learn whatever this New York conference can teach me. I hope to come back with fresh insights about the young adult fiction industry and about my competition. I have so much to learn! There will be lots to report next week ...—jl