I feel like I’m slightly cheating with my next couple of days because I’m literally going to cover one day of the conference over the next three days. With that in mind, let’s kick off today’s post where I’ll be talking about Friday the 18th of November, the first day of the SCBWI 16 conference.
Friday November 18th, I was staying at my parents’ house because my dad was driving me to the airport in Edinburgh. I had everything packed and I reluctantly rolled out of bed at 8am so that we would be at the airport in enough time for my 11.45am flight.
As a side note: that two hour before your flight thing might make sense when you’re flying at a busy time, but for me it meant sitting around the airport for two hours twiddling my thumbs mostly!
Since I wasn’t quite sure who was all getting on the same flight as me – I knew there were about five or six others – I made this sign and stuck it to the back of my clipboard so people would be able to find me. It served me very well over the weekend!
I have to say, I don’t particularly like flying. It always leaves me feeling a bit ill because it’s like my head is being crushed the entire flight, but the flight down wasn’t too bad and being able to chat with the lovely SCBWI folks in the waiting area at the gate was brilliant. I met some wonderful new people.
Once we landed and got the train through to Winchester, I parted from the group to head to the B&B I was sharing with a fellow SCBWI member, Barbara. It was a fifteen minute walk from the station and unfortunately, by the time I got there and dumped my bags, the Scrawl Crawl was halfway through and I missed it.
At half past three, I headed out to the Green Man pub – about ten minutes away – for the biography workshop with Nick Cross. I was there far too early, but it gave me the chance to talk to a wonderful woman called Alice, who was such an hilarious character throughout the session, really putting her own spin on things!
The venue was a little dark and the music a little loud for people at the far end to hear the other end, but overall it was very informative and super interesting too. I walked away with a couple of worksheets that I plan to put to good use in the future.
Perhaps my favourite thing about the session was filling out the sheet with information on myself and then having someone else’s sheet to write their biography. It really got me thinking about how I write my own biography and what to include or leave out.
Afterwards, I headed to the University of Winchester with some of the ladies from the session. We had a laugh walking through the alleys and side paths, down the side of the cemetery even! We were heading to the Friday night critique session and I was so excited and nervous!
Luckily for me, the leader of my group was Sarah Broadley, one of the new coordinators for my region. I’d met Sarah previously at an event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Barbara was also in my group, and I followed one of the other ladies, Beth, on Twitter. So really there was just one entirely new face there for me.
The stories that were submitted in our group were all fantastic and there was such a great range of genres, too. I got some amazing feedback, that I’m just starting to work through now, and really feel that what I gave them in return was not nearly good enough.
There was a dinner after the critique and then it was home to bed. The first day of the conference was a whirlwind of meeting new people, talking about stories yet to be discovered, and generally just smiling until my face hurt. I loved every moment of that first day and I couldn’t wait to jump into the official program the next day!
Join me tomorrow to find out about my Saturday at the conference! It was my first time going and I tried to grab every opportunity that was available to me while there 😀
See you tomorrow!