I’m coming up on my five year writing anniversary.  It marks the day I started crafting my first MG novel. I completed it in three months then rewrote for another year. By the end of year two I had come to the conclusion it was my practice story. Not bad, but far from great. I set that manuscript aside as a good learning experience and completed another much better effort.

My mistake on the first novel was not letting it sit long enough before revising. I vowed to detach myself from this newest effort for at least a month, but what’s a person to do when that file kept staring at me to read once more?

Easy. I wrote another story. Then I went back and revised the first followed by writing a third story. Went back and revised the first and second. Wrote a fourth, and well, you get the idea. I kept writing to put distance from my previous works so they’d appear more detached when I went back in to doctor them up.

I’m done with that cycle. Each of the manuscripts has been torn apart, put back together, recycled, spin dried, etc. I’m ready for the next step and this conference from SCBWI came at a perfect time.

BIG SUR in the ROCKIES is not your typical sit and listen type of conference. Those attending will critique each of my manuscripts. That includes agents from Andrea Brown Literary Agency, editors, authors, and 60-70 other budding writers of children’s literature. It’s an intensive two and a half days in small groups with those that share a love of MG, picture book, chapter book, or YA. Yes, there are two large group sessions where it is sit and listen, but I will be listening to one of my pitches and a first page of a manuscript read out loud for reactions from the invited panel.

There are also blocks of personal writing time following the critique sessions to tighten up any concerns. One potential problem: The setting might be tugging at me to hike instead of write.


I’ll post updates and writing advice that I learn the next three days, hoping it might help some of my blog readers in their own quest to improve their craft and/or publish.





About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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  1. Sounds like a great event, Greg. Best of luck.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful event. I like your approach, too: let your manuscript sit awhile and write another book, and then come back to the first. It sounds like you’ve hit a winning pattern. Good luck at the conference.

  3. Have a great time, Greg. I look forward to reading about it.

  4. I hope it’s all you are wishing for and that it gives that boost to your writing you need. I look forward to hearing about it.

    • My only wish is to learn something new and it looks like this conference will supply that. I have plans for a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday post with a summary of what I learned.

  5. What a great opportunity! Love the lodge. Hope you get good feedback and find an agent. Keep us posted about the conference.

  6. have a blast!!!! This sounds like a great opportunity!

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