I don't get to these, usually. Somehow, they always seem to clash with theatre or opera or some other thing I have to attend. But yesterday, I managed to get to my first meeting of the Melbourne chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, being held in a restaurant in Carlton, Lygon St.
Children's writers tend to hang out together or at least meet at conferences. It gets embarrassing when someone calls you by name and you can't remember who they are.
Luckily, we all had name tags, but I found there were a few people I knew - Errol Broome, an older writer who says she's had enough of writing for now, Goldie Alexander, with whom I did a panel at the crime conference, my friend George Ivanoff, whom I have known since before either of us sold anything or even realised we were children's writers and Gabrielle Wang, that wonderful writer of gentle fantasy tales for children and a gentle YA fantasy, Little Paradise. I was a bit embarrassed to meet her because my students had prepared an interview for her and the file got lost!
I explained and, while I plan to have it on this blog, she says she will have it on her own as well, if I can get them to find that file!
Meanwhile, I bought copies of her book, A Ghost In My Suitcase, to be signed for them, and one copy of Little Paradise, which I think will be enjoyed by the one who has read the others.
There were two guest speakers - Alison Reynolds, who wrote a series of choose-your-own adventure books with an environmental theme with Ranger Sean Willmore, and a lady who teaches editing and talked about common grammar errors, giving us examples taken from real books, starting with Thomas The Tank Engine. Both were fascinating. I always wondered how you'd do a CYOA-type book - it must be very difficult.
My grammar is pretty good already, but I did agree that any story that doesn't get its grammar right is far less likely to be picked up than one which does.
There will only be two meetings in Melbourne next year, the others will be outside, but there was a tantalising hint about another Sydney conference - must check it out!