Learning From Others

As a YA writer, you’d think I’d have joined SCBWI already, wouldn’t you? But I hadn’t. For some reason I had it in my head that you had to already be a published writer in order to become a member. Turns out I’m wrong, which is wonderful. I suppose it was officially a week ago that I joined SCBWI. Now I’m a member of the local chapter and a critique group here. It’s an online one, like the other critique group I’m a member of, but it’s small and filled with only YA members. My other critique group is constantly growing (I currently have no idea how many members there are…) and from all sorts of genres, which is nice because of the variety of prospective that comes along with that. I think the SCBWI one will trun out to be great. I’m also working on joining an in-person critique group.

I joined at just the right time for this. The third weekend of October, the local SCBWI chapter is hosting a writer’s conference. Of course I quickly registered to attend it, which is super exciting. It’ll be my first writing conference. This is going to be a great experience, both the critique group and the conference. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot and grow as a writer.

Also about a week ago I decided to give a Writer’s Digest course a try. I’m a VIP at WD and do some of their webinars from time to time, which are always interesting and insightful but I don’t think I’ve ever really learned something new about writing. I just like to do them to hear a literary agent’s POV on things. But I decided to the the First 10 Pages of Your Manuscript bootcamp anyway. It was one weekend and three literary agents, two of the three were YA enthusiastic, would look over the first ten pages and give insight into what worked and what didn’t.

I really think I learned a lot from that. I had been thinking about tweaking my manuscript in a certain way, but unsure of how to go about doing it. The literary agent I got, the lovely Paula Munier, was extremely nice and extremely helpful. She really went above and beyond to help everyone who attended. Another great thing came of it, all the YA writers who were attending decided to get together online afterwards and continue critiquing each other’s work.

Writing can be done in solitude, and for a long time I did it just that way, but the more I open up the others and share the more I learn about my own writing style and the more I grow. I’m really glad I joined SCBWI and very glad I did WD’s Bootcamp. Getting other people’s perspective is invaluable.

3 thoughts on “Learning From Others

  1. Hi Jacqueline! I just found your blog today and I love it. We have a lot in common… I just completed my own YA novel and I’m attending the Writer’s Digest conference in LA this weekend. I’m so psyched to begin the journey to being a published author, and most of all I am excited to perhaps meet a few like-minded writers and join the writer community. Like you, I’ve been solitary in my work for a long time. It’s time for me to reach out, and I just wanted to introduce myself to someone I think I have things in common with. (Um, that’s you, fyi.) 🙂
    I see on your Twitter update you mentioned “What’s Left of Me”– that’s a book I want to read very soon. (I downloaded the Amazon sample to my Kindle yesterday.) If you read it, what did you think?

    • Nice to meet you, Lisa 🙂
      I’m so jealous you’re going to the WD conference in LA. I’m sure that’ll be great.

      I actually haven’t read What’s Left of Me yet. But I’m hoping to soon. I’d like to hear what you think of it once you read it.

  2. SCBWI, this is really awesome! Keep up your hard work. You are talented in your field. I do respect those kind of people around the world.

    Good luck

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