Last weekend I had the great pleasure of attending CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers)’s Packaging Your Imagination Conference. This was my first ever CANSCAIP event, and I had a blast.
I’m not going to go into specifics of what learned, since that wouldn’t be fair to all the people who paid to attend the event (or the people who were paid to provide the content), but I will say I came away inspired and invigorated.
I think my favourite part of the whole day was the opening keynote speech by Loris Lesynski. I was a stranger to her work before the conference, but bought three of her books before leaving. Seriously, if you write (or aspire to write) rhyming picture books, you need to go check her out. The way she plays with language is not only amazing, but inspiring. I can only hope to write as well as she does one day.
I also went to a panel about the differences between writing YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy and writing adult Sci-Fi and Fantasy. To be honest, I think the differences could be summed up just by looking at the panel, which was composed of 5 female writers. Seriously, though, I came away with a great reading list and an itch to try my hand at a YA Fantasy (because, you know, I don’t have enough projects already on the go :D).
There was another panel on the future of publishing, featuring some Canadian editors and agents, who bemoaned the lack of an “Upper Middle Grade” (age 12-15) category for readers – making them totally my kind of people. 😀
Finally, I went a workshop on Picture Books, led by an editor from Canadian Publisher Groundwood Books, where I learned the ideal length for a PB in Canada is 800-1000 words. You can bet I’ll be sharing that info with Bri!
I also enjoyed meeting some people I’d previously only interacted with online – critique partners, network members, and even another of Bri’s clients – as well as being introduced to new faces, and re-connecting with old friends.
The other benefit I got from the conference came from my One-on-One critique session, which this time took the form of a Social Media evaluation. I’ll confess that the critique wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I did come away with lots of things to think about (and change). It looks like my blog is going to undergo a bit of a transformation in the next few weeks, so don’t be scared if things look different next time you pop by.
Right, off to go work on revising both my MG and my blog. See you next week.