Before: First Writer's Conference

I wrote a few weeks ago about submitting the synopsis and first chapter of KIN for an upcoming writer's conference. I was able to put it together and send it off on time. I discovered during this time that mixing e-mail, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and OpenOffice Write really causes formatting issues and that I probably need to just use Word (or Docs). Why did I have to learn about this when I mailing off something this important? We shall see if it came out acceptable this weekend.

Yes, the Writing for Children and Young Adults Conference is this weekend. When I handed in my submission, I couldn't help the nervousness and excitement that crept into me. A list of expectations keeps adding and crossing off in my head. Will I meet other fun writers? Will I get completely lost on the University of North Dakota's campus? Could an editor/author/agent actually read my story and like it? Could I even possibly win the award for most promising work?

I have researched many articles on suggestions on how to dress, what to bring, how to approach people, and what to say (or not). I have my outfit (I decided to go dressy) , a list of all the things I can possibly stuff in my Stargate bag (I have an accordion folder), and sheets of paper as back-ups if the GPS doesn't work (addresses are the best clues). You would think that I would be staying overnight (I am not--- one of my best friends is getting married Friday!). No, I am packing for one day.

And these were my thoughts before I found out editor Sharyn November was going to read my work. My friend Violet, who is also attending, started freaking out and told me that we were both having our work looked at by November. Checking my e-mail, I saw the e-mail that confirmed this news. We were both really excited and freaking out at the same time. Late Saturday afternoon, we will sit down with November for fifteen minutes to go over our synopsis and first chapters.

Sharyn November is the reason why I pushed myself to hard to attend this conference and she is reading my work. How did this happen? Why am I completely thrilled and terrified at the same time? The conference's website says it all: "Sharyn November is a senior editor for Viking Children's Books and the editorial director of Firebird Books. She has acquired and edited books by Laurie Halse Anderson, John Barnes, Charles de Lint, Sarah Dessen, Diana Wynne Jones, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Ellen Klages, Pat Murphy, and Nnedi Okorafor, among many others. " Diana Wynne Jones? She wrote my favorite book, Howl's Moving Castle! I read her Firebirds anthologies, and the authors and work in the books were amazing. I wasn't prepared for this, but I can handle it.

This is a huge honor. I am not having my expectations high. To me, this is the moment that I can have a professional in the field give me the critique that I have been waiting to hear. It might good, it might terrible. It could be in between, but whatever it is, I am not giving up. This is a milestone, a marker to where I should go. It is what I make it.

I will write an "After" update next week. Here's to a great weekend!

Natasha

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