Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jane Yolen Workshop, continued

Day three- November 11th

Sunday was our day to have individual time with Jane. Each of us got fifteen minutes alone with her. During that time we could ask her any question we wanted or discuss her critique of the story we sent ahead of the workshop.
During the time each of us "disappeared" to be with Jane, the rest of us continued critiquing each others' work. By this time I was much more relaxed. I chose to read a story I haven't shared with anyone except my husband. It's a story I'm rather fond of, but one I've never bothered to submit because...I didn't think it was something a publisher would be interested it. But I thought, "What the heck? Why not see what these ladies think?"
My story called, "Not Even the Dragon," is your basic sort of fairy tale - princess, tower, dragon and prince - with a surprise ending. All of them liked it, said they could identify with it, and thought it would be something many, many children could identify with as well. Again, it is not picture book ready. I need to work on it, set up a dummy, edit it down, all in the hopes that I can then "see" it in PB format. But there's potential and I was given suggestions of where to submit it.
My time with Jane arrived. She looks right into your eyes when she's talking to you, letting you know you've got her full attention. I wish I'd had more questions to ask her. I'm sure there are question I don't know to ask. But Jane did quickly and easily answer the ones I had, and she said that in the publishing business one simply has to take one step at a time. That you learn as you go.
I was the second to last to meet with her. After the last of our illustrious group saw her, lunch was served. Baked potatoes (with all the toppings) chili, and salad.
After lunch Jane went through the SCBWI list of agents and made what comments she could about them. Then she autographed books for us. The picture above is her signing her book Take Joy for me. After that we went wild taking pictures. The whole week-end the weather was perfect. No matter where we gathered, indoors or out, it was hard to believe it was November.
The day was coming to a close. We were all tired from our brains being over stimulated, from excitement, from lack of sleep. We had shared both written and personal stories, we had shared a lot of laughter and, at least for me, experienced an unexpected camaraderie. I have been writing in a vacuum for many years, but now I'd made contact with people who might become part of a net-work. I didn't feel so alone. Most importantly, I didn't feel so insecure about my writing ability. I learned many things, but two things cling to me like black dog fur on a white sweater. 1.) I know more than I thought I did. 2.) I'm ignorant about many things. But that's life. We learn as we go.
As I gathered my things, Jane was there to say good-bye. I don't know what it was, maybe it was still feeling awed to be in her presence, maybe it was my old shy introvertedness rearing its head, but I stuck out my hand to shake hers. Immediately I felt like idiot as Jane opened her arms, reached up and hugged me.
"Thank you," was all I could say.
I was out the door, I was in my car, I was driving away. The week-end was over.
(and for some reason this blog is not allowing spaces between paragraphs!)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Bish! How exciting to meet Jane Yolen and learn from her! I would love to meet her and go to one of her workshops. She is a powerhouse in children's writing and I've heard she's a great mentor.

    Congratulations on all your writing accomplishments and success. Your blog is great and I look forward to reading more.

    Wendy Haber


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