Talking and Writing, Past, Future, and Present

First off: If you missed my below-mentioned Twitter chat with Sara Lewis Holmes today, you can read the full transcript on her blog. It was a great conversation, with lots of meaty stuff about process and character -- thanks to all who stopped by! And you can bop on over to Sara's blog here for a fun writing contest to win a signed copy of Operation Yes.

I had a lovely time at the SCBWI Midsouth conference this past weekend, with lots of good hospitality and wonderful writers. If you were in my “Dimensions of Character” session, the broad structure of that talk (the create-a-character exercise chart, mostly, which I also used in “The Whole Shebang”) is on the web here. If you were in the “Principles of Plot” session, the character-based plot structure described therein is available here, and you should also check out the Essentials of Plot talk on my website. If you wanted to hear more about any of the books I mentioned in my talks, check out the “Behind the Book” tag at the right, which features past essays on several of the titles I’ve edited. And finally, my submissions guidelines are here.

I have a very full schedule of talks and conferences planned for next spring; as of today, here’s the present lineup:
  • Austin, Texas, SCBWI, January 29-30 (the same weekend as SCBWI Midwinter in New York). I’ll be doing one talk by myself and a joint session with Sara Lewis Holmes describing the creation and editing of Operation Yes. “Opportunities” with me and several other editors (including the awesome Lisa Graff) have apparently sold out already, but I’ll be around all weekend and generally do not eat people who try to make conversation with me. Generally.
  • Southern Breeze SCBWI in Atlanta, February 26-28. I don't yet know what I'll be talking about there.
  • Children’s Literature Festival in Warrensburg, Missouri, Sunday, March 14: I’ll be giving the keynote speech at the annual luncheon here—an invitation I received entirely on my own merits, of course, with absolutely no nepotism or personal connection involved.* The talk will be called “Raised by Reading,” and it won’t be a writing talk so much as a personal and children’s books reflection talk.
  • Books by the Bay Multicultural Literary Conference in Mobile, Alabama, March 17-19. This is a new writers’ conference especially for people of color, sponsored by an organization called the Multicultural Literature Advocacy Group, and it will include a summit on improving opportunities for authors of color as well as a writing and submissions workshop. I’ll be giving a plot talk and participating in the summit.
  • Carleton College Convocation speech, April 23. This also won’t be a writing talk so much as a children’s-books-and-the-awesomeness-of-Carleton talk. And I can talk about those two things for a very, very long time.
Then at that point I will dissolve into a small puddle of literary goo. But I’m looking forward to the chance to see so many friends in places I love, and also to go to parts of the country where I’ve never spoken before. I still have one slot available in my speaking schedule for autumn 2010, for a late-October or early November writers’ conference; if anyone is interested in having me then, I can be contacted through the address on my website.

Finally, because I’m now editing a bunch of novels, prepping my speeches for the Western Washington SCBWI retreat, and readying my own book for publication, I’m taking the month of October and the first couple weeks of November off from all online social media. . . . No blogging,** no Twitter, no child_lit, not much Facebook. SQUID responses will also be delayed in this time.*** I’ll miss you, but I shall have much to be thankful for when I’m back in November and all of this is done. Have a great month in the meantime!

* (My grandfather founded the Festival.)
** With the exception of good stuff related to my books.
*** Read: If you’re impatient for an answer, don’t submit until late November.