For those who haven’t heard of it, WriteOnCon is an online writers’ conference dedicated to the kidlit categories – Young Adult, Middle Grade, as well as younger picture and chapter books (though unsurprisingly these have a much smaller presence than the other two popular categories). It’s held every year on two days in August. This year it’s tomorrow and the day after – Tuesday the 14th and Wednesday the 15th.
Over these two days they have a great slate of "speakers" lined up to talk about writing and publishing in kidlit, and to interact with "attendees". Check out the list of events. They have some "lecture" events (basically blog posts that go live at a set time), some panel events (live chats with one or a group of people), and blue-pencil sessions (critiques from industry experts, with submissions taken in advance through the forums). Unlike traditional conferences where you have to actually be present in person to receive the wisdom of the speakers, WOC’s events are archived so you can follow up on them later in case you, you know, have to work during the day or something.
Another aspect of WOC is the open forum critiques. I’m not really participating in any of the main events, but I am joining in the forum madness. Basically, you post your query, your first 250 words, your first 5 pages, or your synopsis (there’s a separate forum for each), and people will weigh in and offer you feedback and constructive criticism. In return you’re asked to critique five others that have been posted in the same forum – a pay-it-forward system.
And the most exciting part is that during the conference there will be "Ninja Agents" anonymously stalking the posts on the forums, leaving feedback and – occasionally – requesting material. I’ve already had one Ninja leave a positive comment! :D
It takes a lot of time to critique five works, regardless of the length, so I’ve limited what I’ve done so far. But here’re the links to my posts, if you’re interested in checking them out:
Magestone/Snows of Sorrow: