My summer began with a writing conference sponsored by the New Jersey chapter of SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It was a great experience. I signed up for a peer critique, where we were divided into groups of four and received the first 15 pages of each other’s work to review. Thanks to that, I now have a new critique partner. I loved her book and she loved mine, too, and we both had useful suggestions that would improve our work. The best kind of mutual admiration society!
I also signed up for a critique from an editor at a well-respected children’s publishing house. She had some great comments which opened my eyes to areas where I need to better my writing, comments which will help not only with this book, but all of my fiction projects. It was a privilege to be able to receive this kind of feedback.
In addition to that, there were great lectures and opportunities to meet with other writers and illustrators, both published and unpublished, who work in everything from picture books to those geared for older teens.
I spent the rest of the summer revising my novel about a 13-year-old witch who is uprooted from her comfortable life in a little town where everyone is a witch and thrust into what we would call the “real” world. Her particular witching talent is the ability to understand and speak to animals in their various languages, and she uses this ability to investigate the strange rash of supernatural fires that breaks out in her new, supposedly ordinary, town.
I sent the revised version on to my new critique partner a couple of days ago. I was also accepted for another New Jersey children’s conference where I’ll be matched with a writing professional—an editor, agent, or writer—for further critique. Stay tuned for further developments!