Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pikes Peak Wrap Up


PPWC started for me the moment I arrived at noon on Friday. I had signed up for "Read and Critique 1-2-3." Writers submitted the first page of a novel and three industry professionals gave their opinions on what worked, what didn't work and whether they would keep reading.

Nathan Bransford from Curtis Brown, Kate Harrison from Dial Books and author Bill Brooks were the panelists in my session. I wish I had recorded their comments so I could bask in their warm glow on days that I lack confidence. After my heart stopped racing and I began to breathe again, I managed to scribble down a bit of what they said:


  • Nathan said it was subtle and well-written.

  • Kate said it had a good voice, without being too sassy.
    It gave a good sense of growing older and not wanting to do everything with parents without being over the top.

  • Bill said he liked it and would read more.


    The page they read was from my current WIP, Wish You Weren't. You can read the first chapter on my website.

    Next I went to "Writing for Magazines" which was taught by Wendy Burt-Thomas. She had so much great information to share and she was fun to listen to. Since I do a lot of freelance writing, I took pages of notes in this workshop. I could have listened to her all day.

    My last workshop on Friday was "Speed Pitching." This was an awesome class. They had seven authors at tables on opposite sides of a large room. Those of us who wanted to pitch got in line and when it was our turn, sat in front of the author of our choice and made our pitches. If we wanted to, we could get in line and pitch another person, over and over until we felt comfortable.

    What I learned from "Speed Pitching" is that while you have to know your pitch and be able to say it naturally, the actual pitch lasts like a minute. The rest of the time is for asking questions and getting to know the person you're pitching. And practice makes perfect. The more times I said it, the shorter and more concise it got.

    So for me, Friday alone was worth the price of admission.

    Saturday I made my pitch (and got a request for a full! YAY!) and sat in on sessions with publishers and agents. I'll leave you with these comments that were echoed throughout the weekend:


  • I really want to fall in love with the voice. It's all about voice.


  • Think about what is popular, what you enjoy reading, and find a
    different way to tell it.


  • Find the emotion in the story so that readers have an emotional response.


  • Breathe. Never stop writing.
  • 20 comments:

    Corey Schwartz said...

    Wow, great feedback! And what a panel! Nathan Bransford is one of my idols. And I'd love to meet Kate Harrison. She has written me very nice rejection letters inviting me to submit to her again. What was she like?

    Solvang Sherrie said...

    Kate Harrison was incredibly kind. She is a positive person and even when she didn't like something, she managed to say it in a way that wasn't crushing.

    She agreed to be interviewed on my blog so hopefully you'll be able to learn more about her very soon!

    Vivian said...

    Glad you had a great experience!

    Suzanne Casamento said...

    Sounds like you had a great weekend. The feedback you received is totally encouraging and the takeaways are ones to remember.

    So glad you had such a great experience!

    Lisa and Laura said...

    Congrats on the amazing feedback. I just read the chapter and I can see exactly why they were so impressed. It's extremely well done. I'm hooked!

    Solvang Sherrie said...

    Vivian - Thanks!

    Suzanne - The feedback was great!

    Lisa & Laura - Glad you liked it :^)

    KLo said...

    Sounds like an incredible valuable experience : )

    The Things We Carried said...

    You go girl! I am so glad to hear good news for you :)!

    PJ Hoover said...

    Thanks for the awesome wrap up!

    Kelly said...

    Wow! That sounds so exciting! What great feedback and a request for full!!!
    You must be so refreshed and excoted to write after a weekend like that!

    taralazar said...

    Congratulations on the great feedback! From a stellar panel!

    Beth Kephart said...

    OH my goodness. Breathe AND never stop writing. Sometimes I can't do both at the same time. Often, that is.

    So glad you had such a great, great time. Made me happy to read this.

    Katie said...

    GREAT POST! I'm off to read your chapter later!

    Sarah Laurenson said...

    Congrats! Sounds like it was well worth the price of admission. And thanks for the great wrap up and notes.

    Sarah Laurenson said...

    Hm. I went to read that first chapter and for some odd reason, I had to highlight the words in order to see them.

    beckylevine said...

    It just sounds like such an incredible weekend!

    Sarah Laurenson said...

    BTW. I LOVE that first chapter! Awesome writing.

    C.R. Evers said...

    Oh wow! That's awesome! When I hear those kind of sessions, most people get blasted and walk away humbled!!!! You go girl! That's something to take pride in!!!!! YaY!!! You're on your way!

    Beth Kephart said...

    And you see.... I have never written a song. And always wanted to.

    Sure (to your question ;) ) That would be fun.

    Anita said...

    I'm glad you had a great experience, but am bummed we didn't meet...if we're going the same place ever again, let's exchange cell #s.

    Wendy Burt is a friend of mine...she's awesome. And I thought Kate was great, too...if you remember, let me know when your interview with her posts.

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