Joining SCBWI was the best decision I made last year.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the SCBWI Wik Conference in Birmingham, AL (my hometown!).
On Friday was the writer's intensive with Donna Jo Napoli. Not only is she a successful children's author, but she is knowledgable about craft and extremely hilarious. The intensive was specifically about dialogue and I left that evening with my brain full of new knowledge about character conversations.
On Saturday were the break out sessions. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend all of them. But I did get the opportunity to hear Editor Leila Sales from Viking talk about tropes in middle grade and young adult fiction. After that I heard Author Irene Latham talk about how to really make your writing sing off the page. Both excellent sessions.
If you haven't joined SCBWI and were considering it, I highly recommend it. This past year I went to conferences in New York, Atlanta, and Birmingham. Not only do I learn a lot at each even, but I've bern given the opportunity to submit directly to editors of major publishing houses. I've also met some great friends along the way. I love the writing community!