Reviews, rants, and tidbits from an overpassionate novelist

Posts tagged ‘SWA’

JENNIFER JACKSON AT DONALD MAAS LITERARY AGENCY

I apologize for the never-ending two-day absence. My 9 cousins have been eating me alive.

Today I wanted to talk about an experience I had at the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop way back in October. This workshop is ENORMOUS–surprising for the petulant li’l palmetto state, no?

One of the ten agents in residence was Jennifer Jackson of Donal Maas Literary Agency, a lady I refer to as the Chuck Norris of the industry. She has over 40 clients, and I don’t know how she reads and manages that much every day. Even before I went to the conference I’d been reading her blog, and I admired her.

I was thrilled but extremely nervous when I learned I would be receiving a critique from her.

It turned out to be a wonderful experience. One on one, Ms. Jackson is quite friendly and very pleasant to work and talk with. Her critque of my writing was not harsh. She simply pointed out the things she wished for as a reader–and this approach moved me to start a rewrite. I aged my audience up, took out the backstory dumps, fleshed out the characters, and dimmed the corniness a bit–and these changes turned out to be the difference between 3rd place and 1st place in the contest for the M. L. Brown Award for Young Adult Literature offered at the SWA Conference.

I cannot express how much I admire Jennifer Jackson for the amount she accomplishes in the industry and her friendly attitude. Though my book isn’t right for her–I think she prefers 3rd person narratives–my book would not be the masterpiece it is without her critique. Thanks Chuck!

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THE SOUTHEASTERN WRITERS CONFERENCE

All right, I have to take this chance to recommend to all aspiring writers out there, if you’re in the south, the Southeastern Writers Workshop is an ideal place to start. That’s where I began my journey, and it has given me the boosts I need. I didn’t understand why I needed to go to conferences, honestly, and I got much more than I bargained for.

On my record now are:
The SWA Juvenile Writing Award – 2nd place and $30
The Smith Moseley Poetry Award – 2nd place and $30
The M.L. Brown Award for YA Lit – 3rd place and $10 (2008) & 1st place and $50 (2009)!

So those cash prizes aren’t extravagant, but the thing is those awards are perfect credentials for a query letter. If you want to be published, people, build them up!

The conference also gave me the chance to meet with Mollie Glick from Foundry Literary + Media and agents from Sullivan Literary Agency there on St. Simon’s Island.

I’m going to be posting every day for the rest of the summer and quite often after that. Hold me to it, please! I don’t mind nagging. =)

~Courtney

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