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Two Steps Back

As much as the previous post sounded like things went along swimmingly at last year's SCBWI New York conference, there were some hitches in the 'ol giddy-up.  Can I get a do-over, please?

I hope this short list of what-not-to-do's helps.

1.  No drinking from a brown paper bag -- Yes, I actually pulled a a brown paper bag out of my purse and drank from it.  You morning Starbucks and Diet Coke drinkers beware:  No food or beverage in the critiques due to the spill-risk posed to other people's manuscripts.  Conveniently for me, the clerk at the hotel store just happened to bag my Coke Zero in a brown, lunch-size sack.  As the resourceful great-niece of a suspected bootlegger, I kept my bottle of Coke Zero in the brown sack in my purse, removing only for the occasional and necessary swig of caffeine.  I halted this practice after I realized a few of my tablemates were staring in horror.  I'll spare myself further embarrassment and not go into the details of how I tried to explain that it was simply Coke Zero, really just Coke Zero, honest.

2.  No reading a summary -- A short, one or two sentence pitch is, I think, a good way to start your reading.  However, I would not read a summary.  I did last year and Liz, who is now my editor,  told me that although it was well-written, it actually hurt me.  The story is really what everyone seems to be interested in.  I would NOT waste 200 or so words out of my 500 on a summary.   Stand on the strength of the voice in your work.