(Since my blog from last night was so long, I thought I would add a few details in a follow-up.)
One of the high spots of the day was sitting down at lunch to chat with Lin Oliver for a few moments. First, I had a question about published and listed (PAL) status in SCBWI (i.e., whether having a contract signed was the same as being published). She said yes, it counts in terms of being considered a published author. Good thing, too, because I learned from Lynnea Annette that it could take four years before my story for Highlights is published (yowza!).
Then Lin was gracious enough to give me advice on what story to take to New York. I didn't ask her to-- she just offered when she learned I was going to NY. I asked her opinion on whether to take a Hans-Christian-Anderson type of story or a mss about the son of a magician and his birthday. She said the latter felt more marketable. (Although, in retrospect--and it was a great learning experience for me--I don't think that I was marketing my former story in the right way. Namrata also said it didn't sound marketable. It has a definite modern feel, but I'm not describing it well. I've gotta change my angle on it.)
Finally, we discussed the future of the picture book, the NY times article, and the general direction (or misdirection) of public education in our country as it relates to No Child Left Behind. All I can say is, she is one smart lady.
My critique was with Bree Ogden. I took a story about a girl and her robot. I was really depressed going into the critique, because I felt this story was unsalvageable. I had worked on it for so long, and it seemed to get lost along the way. I even had sent her an older version of the story! But good news...robots are the next hot thing (who knew?). She pointed out what I knew was there...Alberta needed more character development. But she said something that got me thinking about the story in a way I had not done previously. One little word changed my perspective, and I rewrote the story in a morning when I got back. Thanks, Bree! Sometimes it just takes the right nudge at the right time. And boy, I needed it!
I think I'm officially drained of conference highlights until NY.