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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

4 -- Retreat from Writing

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

rilla: Went to a wine retreat on the South Coast.
Rilla: Wine retreat? I didn’t know we could afford to indulge...
rilla: No, no, a writer’s retreat at a winery and spa resort.
Rilla: Wine makes the muse flow does it?
rilla: We didn’t drink a lot of wine.
Rilla: Then what’s the point of a wine retreat?
rilla: That’s the point.
Rilla: What is?
rilla: It was a writer’s retreat, hosted by Squibby.
Rilla: Oh, that degenerate group.
rilla: Huh? No! Squibby is the SCBWI -- The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Rilla: It gets on my nerves how seriously you take this stuff. I mean really…stay at home in your pajamas all day staring at a computer screen. When you do go out it’s to a winery…call that a job?
rilla: The retreat was very professional, beautifully organized. Francesca and Q did a fabulous job. Got to meet so many writers, and of course the faculty…
Rilla: Faculty? You need a professor to teach you how to drink?
rilla: I got a detailed critique of my mg novel from an editor at HarperCollins, and…
Rilla: You write about cars? I thought you said you wrote stuff for children. Well, I guess children like cars…there was that cutesy love bug thing…had a car in it somewhere…mg’s are cute…why are you tapping your foot?
Rilla: Oh! As in B grade books, I get it, I didn’t realize they rated books the same way they do movies. So… what… does it not go into bookstores or something, only released directly to libraries? No wonder you can’t make a living out of…
rilla: Oh, what’s the point? If I told you middle grade means kids between the ages of 8 and 12, it wouldn’t make any difference would it…
Rilla: Tosh! There now. Pep up …can’t see you getting down like that…
rilla: It doesn’t really matter, does it?
Rilla: Tell me more about the retreat.
rilla: The retreat…I’ve forgotten.
Rilla: No, no, you were saying, you got critiqued…
rilla: Oh, yeah.
Rilla: And?
rilla: And it was really good. The editor put so much work into it and said some wonderful things like my characters are ‘distinct’ and ‘memorable’ and have ‘great narrative voices’!
Rilla: That supposed to mean something?
rilla: Oh, you’re hopeless. Anyway, she wanted to see a partial so I sent it off.
Rilla: Partial?
rilla: Partial manuscript -- the first fifty pages. Don’t you know anything? Where are you when I’m doing these things?
Rilla: So that means she’s going to publish it? Hooray, let’s break out the champagne. Money at last!
rilla: What champagne? She hasn’t agreed to do anything. IF she likes the first fifty pages, she’ll write and ask for the full manuscript. Then…
Rilla: And if she doesn’t?
rilla: She’ll send back my fifty pages in the SASE I sent her. Oh no, don’t tell me you don’t know SASE stands for self-addressed stamped envelope.
Rilla: Wait a minute… let me get this straight… you PAY for her to reject you…?! Of all the convoluted…
rilla: Phooey.
Rilla: What a raw deal, what a ridiculous way to do business, what…
rilla: So, as I was saying, I met some great people. I got to sit at Marlene Perez’s lunch table and her round-table critique group!
Rilla: Marlene Perez? I’ve heard of her…she writes about boo…
rilla: SHUT UP!
Rilla: Well she does, doesn’t she? See I have been paying attention to the things you do…don’t roll your eyes, oh for heaven’s sake, not the eyes.
rilla: That’s what I love about this job.
Rilla: There she goes calling it a job again.
rilla: Everyone is so helpful. Those who have made it in the field remember how difficult it is and bend over backwards to help those who are new and struggling.
Rilla: Helped you did she?
rilla: Who?
Rilla: Well now who’s dense…Marlene Perez?
rilla: Oh yeah, she had a lot of good pointers in her speech, and she really liked what I read from my YA novel and recommended I send it to her agent!
Rilla: I can’t even begin to imagine what…
rilla: Young Adult – 13 and older.
Rilla: Oh.
rilla: So I did and he asked for a partial!
Rilla: Groan, that’s another paid-for rejection I take it?
rilla: I can really feel it…
Rilla: Feel what?
rilla: Sooner or later, I will get an agent.
Rilla: Somehow, I’m thinking ‘later’ is a keyword here…
rilla: I’m going to an Agent’s Day…four well known agents will be attending!
Rilla: Urgh, more retreats, more fancy places …
rilla: No, no – no fancy resort. This time we’re going down to the Newport Beach Sailing Club!
Rilla: Yippee…

Written after after attending the SCBWI Winery Writer's Retreat in March 2007.
Some useful links: Marlene Perez's Website , SCBWI Southern California

Katia talks about the SCBWI Summer 2006 Conference and How She and I Met

Had two of the best Roomies!

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Katia Novet Saint-Lot said...

Grrr ! You went to a writer's retreat? At some spa? With wine tasting to help the creative juices flow, right ? Such a tough life! Tell you what : If Rilla number 2 - or is it Rilla number 1 ? - signs off, call me in : I'll do her part of the ranting and Sha-do (love the name) will no longer be able to accuse you of being schizo :)

Katia Novet Saint-Lot said...

Me again! I just read all the links you posted related to that retreat. Mm, Ok, maybe you didn't taste wine only, and I should sit on my green monster of envy.There, it's all squashed. Thanks for sharing this info with us :)

Rilla said...

Hey Katia,
Here's the problem, Rilla really loves her job, so she's not willing to relinquish it just yet. However, rilla always thinks there room for more of us, so why don't you just join the rant, 'coz three's never a crowd, in fact, the more the merrier! Sha-do and Fog-gi will love the extra attention as well ;)

LynNerd said...

Hello Rilla and rilla. I had fun as your roomie at the retreat (until I got sick. Sorry about that). You are full of fun and energy, both of you, and it's a shame there wasn't a live band at the resort that we could have danced to. Maybe next retreat.

The shortage of doctors is scary. They make it darn hard for people to get into veterinary school, too. My friend's daughter got all her hours in working a second job as a vet's assistant, getting little sleep while holding down two jobs, and then they didn't let her into the school. There's just not enough openings for all the students who want to pursue that career. So I'm wondering how they're able to get all these pets in and taken care of so soon.

Oh, I got it figured out. So many cats and dogs are euthanized, so they don't need as many vets. Hmmmmmmm. Pretty sad. I'm glad they're not doing that with people.

I love the pics of your cats. They're beautiful. Very lucky cats to have found you. Not only will they be loved, they'll also get good health care because I know you'll take them to the vet.

Hope you had a good time at agent's day. I'll look for something about it on your blog.

Well, it was good blogging with you. You know, blog, blog, blog, blah, blah, blah, and psssssssst, pass it on.

Rilla said...

Dear Lynnerd,
looking forward to the live band... Thank you for finding my cats lovely, always a winner ;) Didn't know about the vet issue. Very interesting. I feel extra lucky then that I can just take my cats into the clinic anyday and visit with the doctor and not come out a pauper!
I had a fabulous time at agent's day as you will no doubt find out by reading my blog posting ;)
See you soon.