Weekend Conference

We’re home again after a weekend spent at the SCBWI Whispering Pines retreat in Rhode Island, sponsored by the New England regional chapter. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. BH got to go (which doesn’t happen very often, sadly) and both of us snow-blinded, cabin-fevered kids had a blast.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Real editors, as promised. They walk! They talk! They critique! Meet editors Liz Waniewski, from Dial Books, on the left, and Lisa Chang, from McElderry Books, on the right. They were extremely kind and generous to everyone and are probably home sick right now because they are so exhausted.

This retreat is deliberately kept very small – there were about 25 people who stayed for the weekend, and another 25 or so who came just for Saturday’s activities. It is rare and quite cozy to have such a small group. Friday night we all gathered in the lodge and listened to “First Pages” read aloud. These were literal first pages from submitted manuscripts, read by a stranger. We did not know who wrote them. After the page was read, the guest editors talked about if they would continue reading the manuscript and what the author might consider to make the piece stronger. I chimed in with a couple of craft points, too.

Saturday was the real workhorse day. Editor Liz gave her presentation, and then I got up and blabbed.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic They were a polite audience. They did not throw things.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I switched the decaf in the coffee machine to caffeinated. No one fell asleep.

In the afternoon, we met one-on-one with conference-goers who had submitted manuscripts for private critiquing ahead of time. For those not have private meeting, there were small-group critique sessions.

Saturday night we had a Q&A with the editors and me in front of a roaring fire, and then a rather cheerful after-hours party that involved vats of Cosmos and very interesting discussions. We stayed up much too late and loved every second of it.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic BH and I had the best room ever with a high four-poster bed and these people on the walls. I liked them. Our room overlooked the lake where the ice was beginning to thaw and boom and crack.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This poem was in our room. How perfect, no?

Thank you, thank you to everyone who made the conference so much fun for us, especially Jan and Lynda.

And now it’s back to work.

It is snowing again.

13 Replies to “Weekend Conference”

  1. Your presentation was great!!!!

    Hi Laurie,
    You are quick! Thanks for summing up our wonderful Whispering Pines retreat. You, Liz and Lisa created a fun learning experience. Being with old friends, who take their craft very seriously, is always a treat!

    Best of luck with your new book! Another winner, no doubt!

    Thanks for inspiring us all!


  2. Re-charged SCBWI Conference goer

    Thank you, thank you, Laurie Halse Anderson, I came home after this writer’s retreat recharged,renewed and realized how much I needed to give that permission to myself to be a writer, I am a better mom, becuase I am more focused on my mission and yes my universe is once again in balance and my soul is overjoyed….

    I would like to send you a gift-my mother is a writer and she writes poetry, she has some amazing books that will enlighten you and fill the well, please let me know where I can send one..
    lovethat writer mom (kate)

  3. In the Pines!

    Laurie- what a GREAT weekend- thanks for coming to Little Rhody. I put up a decent-sized post about it on my blog, too. I hope you don’t mind being Photoshopped! You and Scot really helped make it a memorable time-
    Liz Goulet Dubois

  4. sounds like a great weekend =)

    Wow. It looks like you had fun. What part of Rhode Island were you in? Were you in the Providence area? (Just wondering because my best friend is going to Providence College up there.) I hope you have a safe trip to your next destination! Can’t wait to see you in May! =) ♥

  5. Speak the Movie

    Hi Laurie, I was just wondering if you knew who sings the ending song on the movie speak and if so where i can find the CD. P.S You’re books are amazing, but speak really gets to me because I have such a hard time talking about things.

  6. Re: Re-charged SCBWI Conference goer

    I hope to get this book of poetry, Spirit Walker out to you soon, and signed. (She is madly writing in New Mexico) Can’t believe I had to order my own mother’s book off Amazon! But, while I was there I pre-ordered Twisted…All my best to you with its debut!

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