Thursday, March 30, 2017

SCBWI Meeting #2 March 2017: Columbus Edition

As I mentioned in my last post, this month features TWO SCBWI meeting summaries!  The March meeting in Columbus featured Middle Grade author, Jennifer Maschari.  Jen is the author of The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price and the upcoming Things That Surprise You.  She spoke to our group about the publishing process and craft of writing--and which is more important to focus on when you're getting started.

Jen began by saying that the first step in any writer's journey is to WRITE A BOOK!  Aspiring authors have a tendency to think about writing more often than they actually sit down and write something.  Jen reasoned that you'll never have "enough time" (or whatever other excuse you fall back on), so just do it.  DO IT NOW! 

But then what do you do once you have poured your heart into your pen or triumphantly typed, "The End?" 

Jen admitted that she jumped into querying and focused on the publishing process as soon as she finished her first book.  But looking back, she wishes that she'd spent more time on her craft and less time researching agent response times.  It took her many rejections to realize that her manuscript wasn't strong enough to be published yet.  This is a very common situation that new writers find themselves in.  But don't fret!  Writers can strengthen their work by reading current published books, joining critique groups, and...


To Jen, revision is the heart of writing.  She gave a list of the many things that she's done to her books during the revision process including cutting characters, changing tense, changing point of view, and even starting over.  It's okay if you don't get things right the first time; revising allows you to approach your story in new ways, discard what doesn't work, and add elements that will make it stronger.  Jen also emphasized how important it is to find a network of writer friends.  These may be people you meet at a conference, in online groups, or even at your local SCBWI meeting.  They'll help you get through the bad times and celebrate the good times of your publishing journey, all the while helping to improve your writing so it becomes the best it can be.

Lastly, Jen talked about how writing is hard work--really really hard work.  It's a dream, but it's also a job.  But by putting in the time and work (and not fretting over agent response times), you can achieve success!

A big thank you to Jen for sharing her writing and publishing wisdom with the group!  You can find out more about Jen and her books at     

If you want to learn more about COSCBWI, be sure to visit the group website at  I hope to see you at the next meeting!

Note: Cover image is from Jen's website at  

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