News & Views from a Writing Retreat

The SCBWI-Wisconsin Fall Retreat was fantastic. Who cares that we stayed in a retirement home for nuns with austere rooms and bathrooms reminiscent of old college dorms. It was all about the people who were there – the speakers and the attendees. It was a Shake, Rattle and Revise weekend ─ a time to learn how to strengthen our writing craft and a time to mix and mingle with some very knowledgeable and talented people. And if that wasn’t enough, the “Sweets Table” was to die for and take a look at these views of Lake Michigan!

Bruce Hale, author of the Chet Gecko series and other books, kept us in suspense as to which hat he might wear next. Editors, Lisa Yoskowitz (Dutton) and Greg Ferguson (Egmont USA), gave us insights into the submissions process, marketing ourselves, and the editorial process. Mary Kole, an agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, talked about what we need to do to get an agent. Loraine Joyner, art director at Peachtree Publishers, walked us through the steps an illustrator takes to reach the finished product. Finally, author Deborah Wiles made us laugh and made us cry with tales from her personal life and from her life as a writer.

Each presenter left us with food for thought. They were equally as appealing as the “Sweets Table.” Could any writer ask for more? Well, we got more!

Our own talented members offered breakout sessions on point of view, writing to foster emotional growth, uncovering the secrets of finding the right agent, writing a one-page synopsis, and revising with fierceness. There were also peer group critiques and individual critiques from visiting faculty and our own published authors. This was a weekend not to be missed.

When an opportunity to go to a writing conference presents itself, don’t think twice – GO! You never know what pearls of wisdom you can add to your hope chest of writing!

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