Friday, October 6, 2023

2023 November First Pages Conference

We were thrilled to have Sean McCarthy, agent and owner of the Sean McCarthy Literary Agency: Meredith Mundy, Editorial Director of Abrams Appleseed and the Abrams Preschool Program; and Beth Terrill, Editor, NorthSouth Books give their professional advice on our CWHV First Pages Conference.

Comments ranged from nice alliteration, liked the use of onomatopoeia, too many shifts in perspective, voice feels didactic and many comments on rhyme and character. There were also comments about conflict, narrative action, transitions, wrong format for age and /or subject and 100 more opinions.

We broke for a delicious Panera lunch.

After the First Pages were concluded, Sean ran a workshop on pacing. Below are the topics: Pacing, Meet the Characters, Anticipation and Escalation of Conflict, Character Driven Action, Crisis and Resolution, Lasting Memory and Transformation. Sean discussed all of these in more detail.

We closed out the afternoon with a Faculty Q &A with Sean, Meredith, and Beth.

We want to thank our attendees for their continued support of the Children’s Writers of the Hudson Valley and for our faculty, Sean McCarthy, Meredith Mundy, and Beth Terrill for spending the day teaching us how to make our first page stronger, clearer and more inviting. Last but no least, we want to thank our hard working committee members for another successful conference.



Sunday, March 5, 2023

2023 June Self-Edit and Query Workshops

The Children’s Writers of the Hudson Valley was delighted to have Sara Schonfeld, Associate Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Publishing, lead a workshop on self-editing like an editor and how to strengthen your query letter. Sara was warm, friendly, approachable, and knowledgeable. Below is a brief summary of our workshops.

Some of Sara’s tips for self-editing was a reverse outline, write down what happened in the story and what is it doing for the story. When editing ask yourself questions, does each scene advance the character or plot?

Think about your main character: what are the themes, relationships, growth, motivation.

After Sara’s PowerPoint presentation, our writing exercise was to edit several pages of our manuscript focusing on specific areas.

Tips for strengthening your query included what to look for when researching your comp titles, how to find examples of comp titles, answering the five basic questions (what, when, who, how and why) and following the four basic structural parts of a query letter. 

Sara reviewed proper query protocols when submitting multiple query letters to editors or agents.

Some common mistakes in writing query letters were too much world building, too much information, too long and others.

Our writing exercise was to rewrite our query letter. Sara read many query letters to the group and gave constructive feedback. Even if your query wasn't read, listening to Sara's comments were still valuable.

We want to thank Sara for spending the afternoon with us and teaching us about self-editing and making our queries stronger. Also, we want to thank our hard working attendees and the CWHV staff.