Friday, January 29, 2010

Wendy Loggia On Why SCBWINY10 Critique Day is like American Idol

--Posted by Lee Wind


  1. So the writer's conference ... this is another money grab preying on the hopes of the talentless, right? I'm kind of new to the whole thing, but American Idol is a politically driven joke, so that's what we can expect from this? Conferences are bullshit. Just learn to write.

  2. Hi Ilya,
    I think there are many ways that the parallel with American Idol breaks down: American Idol doesn't want to see everyone succeed - its mission is not to make everyone who auditions a better singer, and certainly not a star. Those audition shows do kind of revel in how bad some of the auditioners are, and I admit that makes me squirm.

    SCBWI, on the other hand, is an organization that is dedicated to helping writers become authors - to helping writers at every stage of their journey get better, understand more, gain more skills. The manuscript element of the conferences offer a chance to meet face-to-face with people that have the power to, like the judges on American Idol, give people a more direct shot at finding the match to get published. But beyond that, every writer in Friday's session got feedback from two industry professionals, and 14 other writers. Everyone at my tables was genuinely trying to offer helpful feedback to help each person realize their vision for their manuscript.

    I'm sorry the humor of the video didn't work for you, but please consider that "Just learn to write" is something we're doing at this conference. And in addition to guiding writers through the craft, business, and inspiration of writing, SCBWI has created a community out of a group of writers... and given me a sense of "tribe" - and that's something I really value.


  3. The American Idol parallel is an apt one. How many people walk into those auditions completely unprepared, thinking it's a piece of cake to be a pop star? How many people think that writing a book is easy and their 200 pages of drivel is pure poetry? The talent rises to the top, and these conferences give those who are ready important opportunities, while at the same time, it is painfully obvious who is also unprepared. If people didn't want to attend these conferences, they wouldn't be packed. No one forces them to attend and no one promises an easy road to publishing or a publishing contract out of attending a conference.

    On the other hand, I agree somewhat with the first poster-- just learn to write-- before you invest in conferences!