There are a lot of great workshops and classes out there (future post to come about that!), and I find it very hard to choose between them, so I'm writing this review hoping to help you make an informed decision.
¡La semana pasada fue una maravilla! Estuve en un paraíso llamado Oceanside en la costa de Oregon, asistiendo a un taller de escritores de literatura infantil y juvenil llamado Oregon Coast Children's Books Writers Workshop.
Como hay un montón de clases y talleres por ahí (estoy preparando un post sobre eso), y como es muy difícil elegir entre todos ellos, he escrito una reseña para ayudaros con la decisión. Pero como el taller es en inglés, no me voy a molestar en traducirla. ¡Lo siento! Soy así de vaga. ;)
Aún así, espero que disfrutéis de mi cuaderno de apuntes y de las fotos Oceanside, que es un lugar precioso (por cierto, quien me iba a decir a mi que el paraíso era tan frío...).
The Oregon Coast Children's Books Writers Workshop (OCCBWW) is not really a workshop... It's more of a conference, a retreat and a critique group all in one. Because that's a lot to pack in five days, the schedule is pretty intense. The organizers (David and Susan Greenberg) did a great job breaking up the day so the different activities would alternate.
The instructors (one agent, two editors and five authors, plus a couple of guest speakers) were all amazing. Their talks were informative and entertaining, and their critiques were sharp. I specially enjoyed the First Page Critiques. Having the first page of your manuscript read aloud in front of everyone is intimidating, but it's a great learning opportunity. Since the instructors have different backgrounds (YA, picture books, poetry, non-fiction...) you get a very rounded vision of your story. Also, it's interesting to see how they dissect your classmates' texts.
You get a one-on-one 20 minute session with an instructor everyday. It can be rough to hear that your story isn't ready yet (oh my, and I thought my picture book was done! siiigh), but it'll be good for you in the long run (just a couple of tweaks more... then it'll be done). Unfortunately you don't get time with all the instructors, and I think most people got the same one twice.
You also get two "writing" hours everyday, but they don't give you any writing exercises or prompts... just time to get going on your own. This was a bit of a disappointment for me, but it had a positive side: if I was feeling tired, I could go nap on the beach!
Even though in the OCCBWW website it says that "getting attendees published is the end goal", do not go expecting to get an agent or a book deal. Most of the get-published information is actually pretty basic, though it's perfect for someone who's approaching the book industry for the first time or someone considering a new career.
OCCBWW is mostly geared towards writers (I think there were 4 author/illustrators in the class), but that's not necessarily a bad thing since I went there to focus on my words... Also, I found out that once people saw my art, they generally forgot that I was there to write!
All in all, I'm really glad I went! I think OCCBWW will be a great fit for anyone looking to improve an existing manuscript, get some inspiration, learn the craft and hone editing skills.
Oh, and the BEST thing of the week was meeting such sweet, genuine, generous, and talented people! Walking on the beach, drinking wine, sharing meals, roasting marshmallows... I had a blast! It wouldn't have been the same without you. Hope to see you all again soon!
P.S.: Can you believe my husband says I can't multitask? I took notes, listened carefully and sketched all at the same time!