I am happy to report that, in October, I won the Surrey International Writer's Conference 2008 Writing Contest in the "Writing for Young Readers" category for my piece, AUDITION. Beyond the fun of actually winning something and hearing cool writers like Shelly Hrdlitshka say nice things about my work, the conference was AMAZING. (Read an excerpt of my piece at: http://www.siwc.ca/blogs/kcdyer/writing-for-young-people-contest-winners.)
It is almost impossible to choose the best thing about the Surrey conference. The seminars on novel revision given by Hallie Ephron and Anna DeStephano were very helpful, particularly as each offered a unique and creative approach to breaking down that terrifying monolith that is a novel first draft into workable, "editable" pieces. The "Pitch Practice" session with Beverly Boissery gave me tons of confidence for my agent meetings. I was delighted to have a chance to spend some time with Tor Books editor extraordinaire Susan Chang, who never ceases to amaze me with her passion for her authors and their craft. And the sheer joy of connecting with a diverse group of dedicated writers left me feeling inspired and energized (also a bit exhausted from all the fun).
So, as I sit here at my desk on December 5, having just read far too many articles about layoffs in the publishing industry (we could hardly have expected our biz to be immune from the economic crisis, could we?), I still feel a great deal of, well, Holiday Joy. Why? Because, no matter what happens to Wall Street, the auto industry, and even the world of publishing, I know that there are passionate, creative people out there who will write because they are simply made to do this this--to put words onto pages, to work and worry at their craft, and to share their stories. This truth is priceless and never needs the Fed to bail it out.