That morning, I attended a session from DIY MFA about writing MG and YA. I started out initially as a YA author. I began writing as a young adult, and as a result, most of my characters are close to my age. I find it hard to stretch. While I had been pitching Momentum as New Adult, NA is very new (no pun intended) and has a murky, nebulous definition. I knew this session would be beneficial to me. One of the main takeaways of the lecture, aside from some fabulous ideas about working yourself out of plotting issues, was that writing MG and YA is super fun (which it is) and also that it is not lesser than other forms of literature. Yes, we want to write about teenagers, but teenagers are also very good at pointing out bullshit or when you're pandering to them. Writing like a teenager and about teenagers is hard. You have less room for error since your audience will dip out pretty quickly if they smell a rat.
I did skip a couple sessions to beat the aforementioned rush to check out at 11 and to have some time to wander the area surrounding the hotel for food. I was looking for a sandwich shop which ended up being across the street (I have a terrible sense of direction), but stumbled upon a street fair instead. I bought some costume jewelry and got a crepe!
It was supposed to be strawberry and Nutella, but whatever, banana works, too.
The closing keynote speaker was Kimberla Lawson Roby, creator of the Reverend Curtis Black series. She's about to publish her twenty-first novel! She began as a self-published author before selling 10,000 copies and being picked up by an agent. Her husband took out money from his 401K so they could print the first 3,000 copies of her debut novel, which she sold from her home.
She's an incredibly personable, intelligent, and funny woman. As Harlan Coben advised, "Don't be a douchebag." All these successful writers who had spoken to us, the unpublished authors scrambling our way to the top, had been the kindest, most engaging, and interesting people. They fielded our questions with grace and patience and made us laugh, almost moved us to tears.
That's how I'd felt the entire conference. I'd been surrounded by these veritable writing juggernauts, where I should have been intimidated and completely awestruck by their success, but instead, I found myself emphasizing with them, nodding my head as each of them spoke. For the first time, I was beginning to feel as if I belonged, as if I were a writer.
Once the conference ended, I had the hotel hold my bags since my flight wasn't until seven. I took the subway ALL BY MYSELF (thankyouverymuch) to Bri's lovely apartment, kicking myself that I hadn't remembered that she lived in NYC so I didn't have to waste money on a hotel. But whatever, I'm not bitter about it. There, she and her girlfriend Rebecca made me their classic breakfast sandwich, complete with a latte, watermelon, and fresh orange juice. Like, shut up. I should have stayed here and saved myself the cash. Anyway, check out the views:
Just look at that sautéed kale goodness.
These little tufts of green are Central Park.
Couldn't resist a mirror selfie.
It's tourist season in the city!
This made me think of a million movies.
When I can't seem to take a good picture, I just ruin it by making a face. We all win.
I finished Eleanor & Park while sitting on the runway at LaGuardia, somewhat sad that this journey had ended. However, I planned the trip strategically. I quit my job the day before, jetted off to NYC where I made some fabulous contacts to follow up with about Momentum, and now I was flying back to begin the journey to Wilmington for graduate school.
The fan art inside the cover of Eleanor & Park is just fantastic.
It's a strange life, full of twists and turns, but as my dad has informed me, I tend to thrive on the chaos.