I first came to the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference (WIFYR) the summer of 2000, after my freshman year in college. I come back for the same reason people become counselors at their old summer camp--I want to share the magic, but I also want, in some way, to reclaim it. I remember that summer, and the summers after it once WIFYR became my tradition. I remember feeling in turns ecstatic and discouraged. I remember writing late into the night and hardly sleeping--hardly needing sleep. I remember how my heart wouldn't shut up the day my instructor and classmates praised my work. And I remember the day they didn't--I cried for three hours straight and my eyes puffed like hummus filled half-pitas. I was invigorated while simultaneously overwhelmed; confident in my ability while entirely unsure I'd make it as a writer.
The elation always overshadows the disappointment. That's why I come back. I want to be a part of a place where that happens.
So I'll be teaching about writing the young adult novel at WIFYR this summer--specifically, June 13-17. And people are asking me to put on a bunch of bells and whistles for promotion purposes and honestly, that's not my job and I don't want to do it.
I'm sick of contests and giveaways and all sorts of bribery to get people to attend this workshop. Because it's a great conference. People should go. If you are serious about writing, YOU should go. It will help your writing and it will help you on your path to becoming an author. But go because it's an amazing experience, not because I offer you free books or manuscript critiques or Girl Scout cookies. If you're interested in incentives, there will be WIFYR contests on other sites and I'll link to them, and I hope it will motivate those of you who are on the fence.
But WIFYR is not something you do because there's a prize involved, or because writing is something you want to try on a lark and it's either that, or, say, Zumba. WIFYR is an intense, life-changing week that turns writers into authors.
So do it. Go forth and begin this amazing, heart-wrenching journey. Know other writers who want to take the journey, too? Spread the word. I'll be right there with you.
Registration is open for Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers!
This popular week-long conference offers 20 hours of classroom critique, afternoon classes on craft, and plenary sessions by New York editors and agents.
This year's award-winning faculty includes: Sharlee Glenn (Beginning Writer class) Trudy Harris (Picture Book class) Kristyn Crow (Picture Book class) Kevin Hawkes (Illustration class) Mike Knudson (Chapter Book class) Claudia Mills (Middle Grade Novel class) Emily Wing Smith (Beginning Young Adult Novel class) Louise Plummer (Young Adult Novel class) Holly Black (Fantasy Novel class) Kathleen Duey (Advanced Novel class) Martine Leavitt (Advanced Novel class) A.E. Cannon (Boot Camp class)
Our amazing editors are: Alyson Heller, Aladdin Books Lisa Yoskowitz, Disney
Our talented agent is Mary Kole from Andrea Brown Literary Agency
This year's keynote is by New York Times Bestseller Ally Condie, author of MATCHED.
Where: The Waterford School, Sandy UT When: June 13-17, 2011