Warning: Gratuitous, overenthusiastic gushing to follow.
For the past couple of days, I've been utterly addicted to WriteOnCon. It's a free, online conference for children's authors (YA, middle grade, and picture books, and even NA this year) with a ton of fabulous live feeds, articles, and videos. Twitter pitching with literary agents, chats with editors, tips and tricks from big-name authors, the list goes on. Did I mention it's all free? Crazy.
For me, the biggest lure has been the forums where writers can post their query letters and the opening pages of their manuscripts. Then people go through and critique each other's work, help them fine-tune their pitches and pages until they sparkle. This year I've been blown away at how kind and supportive everybody's been. And how fricking good so many of the entries are. Yesterday and today, the forum has been open to "ninja agents" who scour the forums and swoop in and request pages from the manuscripts that catch their fancy. So that's added a whole new level of excitement to the mix.
After spending hours upon hours critting and chatting with other writers, I'm exhausted but so happy. Writing is such a solitary pursuit, and it's refreshing to connect with other people slogging along on the same journey. I went to an in-person conference earlier this year, and it was equally delightful. I'm amazed by the writing community, how generous and just generally lovely people are. Awww, warm fuzzies. Like bunny slippers for my heart.
Just when I thought it couldn't get much better, I happened upon a thread where an illustrator named L.L. Tisdel was offering to sketch the main characters from people's books. Out of the kindness of her heart, she just decided to make original artwork for a bunch of people she doesn't even know. How incredible is that? I filled out a brief questionnaire about the main character, Nessa, from my work in progress, MINDSWEPT, and just look!
I mean, really. How cool is that.
Check out the artist's blog and DeviantArt if you're so inclined.
Anyway, the conference ends tonight, and I have the feeling tomorrow is going to be a bit like the day after Christmas. Major letdown. I won't know quite what to do with myself. Actually, I will. I'll get back to the manuscript revisions I've been neglecting. But it's been a great break, and I can't thank the organizers of WriteOnCon enough. You guys are amazing.