Friday, August 1, 2008

Day One, Willamette Writers Conference

A three day weekend with fellow word geeks! Heaven!

I scheduled two pitches with literary agents who handle YA (young adult) novels. Today I met with Jennifer L. with the Andrea Brown Agency. She's new to the agency and trying to build up her client base. I told her about "Water Tribute" which I described as Patty Hearst meets Lawrence of Arabia and gave her a brief description of the plot. Unfortunately, Jennifer is not into YA fantasy, although she enjoys the "kiss ass" heriones of Tamora Pierce's novels. However, she said my story was intriguing and suggested I research their agents and sent a query to the most appropriate one for my type of story and indicate I met with her.

So...some encouragement. I must say, the folks I've met from the AB agency have treated me very well during our 15 minute pitches. In fact, the few times I have pitched at this conference the agents/editors have been very polite and encouraging. Apparently some of the film representatives were not so polite and kind in the past and have not been invited back.

I have another pitch scheduled for tomorrow.

Today I attended sessions on "How to Query and Pitch," primarily focused on queries for nonfiction publication but much applicable to fiction. Smartly scheduled as one of the first sessions of the conference. I attended two sessions presented by Pamela Smith Hill (YA author) on "Confessions of an Eavesdropper" and "Too Much Information." The first about writing dialogue and the second on weaving exposition into the action and drama of the story. Both sessions with good visual aids (DVD scenes and a Power Point presentation). She had a funny story about being caught eavesdropping and commiserated with the first chapter blues...even published writers still struggle to get it right.

The fun and eye-opening session for me was "Introduction to Graphic Novels" presented by Diane Shutz with Oregon's own Dark Horse Comics. This is a whole new area for writers to consider. Although artist/writers have the advantage -- they do need good scripts and will pair up a good writer with an artist. Classically associated with super heros and young males, comic books and graphic novels do include all genres.

Barnes & Noble is the on-site book seller of tomes related to the sessions and published by presenters. Strategically placed in the center of the action, conference attendees repeatedly walk past the tables covered with books. Today I bought a book about comics and graphic novels. Will I resist further purchases over the next two days? Unlikely.

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