I attended the Western Washington SCBWI conference this past weekend. I spent a lot of time there with mandywriter who has posted some good stuff about what all went on.
The conference was useful for the networking/marketing aspect of writing. In that way, I got everything I could have wanted or expected from the event. (Well, I would have loved to meet some local YA writers around my age, actually. Not to sound ageist or anything. I just think it would be cool to make friends whom I can get together with to share and discuss our writing, and also hang out with and go to concerts with or whatever!)
I came away hungry -- starving, even -- for some instruction and focus on craft. The workshop Liesa Abrams did was a great start for me with her ideas about developing a strong hook and plot. This information shouldn't be new to me, but it felt new. Probably because I am at the starting stage right now, which is somewhere I haven't been for over a year and a half. I'm mulling everything over days later, hoping to come up with something outstanding for my new story.
I've also been researching today for some writing classes -- online or local will do -- but I'm coming up very little that appeals. I want more! I want to learn! I want someone to teach me something, damnit!
The online MB classes and the online stuff with Lauren Barnholdt a few years ago spoiled me. I adore working with instructors and writers who are focused on YA and who truly get it. In years past, I was always the only YA writer in my classes, and it made me feel like I was off in some corner of weird fiction all by myself. I'm sure I can learn some useful things from general fiction-type class, but I'm so reluctant to do that right now. Why are YA options so limited?