Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spent a lovely weekend in the city at the SFWriter's Conference meeting new people and hanging out with a few old friends I hadn't seen in a long time. On Sunday, I was part of a panel on Capturing the Teenage Heart along with my buds Heidi Kling who wrote SEA, the fabulous book based on the aftermath of the Indonesian tsunami and Naheed Senzai who took the problems in Afghanistan and condensed them down into a fabulous middle grade book called SHOOTING KABUL.

I love speaking not just because I love to talk about writing, but because it forces me to take a close look at the topic and analyze a process that I usually don't question for fear of scaring the magic away. For this talk, we focused on how to take a huge subject like Afghanistan or Indonesia (or hoarding) and distill it down into something that teen readers will love, and it was interesting to see how we each made the story personal.

It was moderated by the lovely editor from Simon and Schuster, Annete Pollert who I'd never met but could easily hang out with for an extended period of time. Funny and hip, but infinitely kind, - if she is your editor, you are in very good hands.

The conference itself was well-organized and the organizers treated us really well - if you are near San Francisco next year you should come along. The Mark Hopkins Hotel is gorgeous, even in the rain, and the range of speakers guarantees there is something for everyone. Our audience seemed to like the presentation and I think we could have kept going for several hours over our 45 minute limit. We were politely booted out of the room to get ready for the next group and kept the conversation going out in the hallway for almost an hour. I even got a CD of our session and despite bad experiences listening to my own voice (come on, you know you skip over your own message on the answering machine) I wasn't horrified when the hubs sat down and listened to all 45 minutes.

Thanks to the SFWC for inviting us and special thanks to Martha Flynn for taking pictures. Sorry I'm so lame that I forgot to turn on the flash.

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