Saturday was my first time volunteering at a SCBWI conference, and my second time attending this one. What a long day--a bunch of us were carpooling so I was up at 4:30 a.m. And we got home about 9 p.m.--whew! I really enjoyed volunteering, and would do it again, but maybe not put myself down for the really early duties next time!
The marvelous Bruce Coville was the keynote speaker, and gave insightful advice about how writing for children is all about the details. I popped in for part of his workshop and people were madly taking notes, and any time I ran into him during the day he was surrounded by adoring fans. But the attention hasn't given him a swelled head, he was genuinely one of the most approachable and funny men I've met. We even got to sit with him at dinner, where he (of course) shared some wonderful stories.
The other full sessions I got to attend were Eve Adler's talk on historical fiction (where I came away with some great recommendations for books to track down and read) and Greg Pincus's social media talk (I admit I was fading during that one, but got some useful tips anyhow).
Also caught part one of Nick Catalano's Picture Book Mastery workshop (had to run out during the second part to put out the lunches for everyone) and that was probably my favorite part. He walked us through Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, pointing out design choices and how his style revolutionized the PB market. I haven't been formally "schooled" in PBs, so this was a great way to stimulate new ways of looking at the design and how the writing and pictures complement each other.
All in all, worth the long day. One of my crit partners even got a full request out of her paid agent critique, so yay for her! And BTW, our crit group was formed through SCBWI's "looking for a crit group" organization.