Writing for Charity

A little while ago, I posted about the Writing for Charity Event at the Treehouse Children’s Museum in Ogden, Utah.  I was invited to take part in the workshop as a debut author, and I think I was the “newest” writer at the event.  It also happened to be my first time participating in something like this as a presenter, rather than an attendee.  I didn’t really feel like there was much of a difference between me and the talented writers we were presenting to, but I had a wonderful time.

I got to participate in a big group panel, and then a smaller session with Emily Wing Smith, Sara Zarr, James Dashner, and Wendy Toliver.  After that, I guided a critique of first pages with several soon-to-be-published writers.  I was quite impressed with the quality of storytelling in those pages (like I said, not much difference between me and them).  I hope I said some helpful things.

As a fundraiser, the event was very successful.  The museum raised $8,000, which will be used to put books in the hands of kids, and Deseret Books donated a sizable portion of that.  As a workshop, the feedback from attendees was very positive.  The mood was light and supportive, and everywhere there was a real sense of community.

Some highlights:

1 – Getting a cool mini harmonica from the Treehouse Museum.  It’s what their volunteers wear.

2 – Being introduced by Shannon Hale.  Shannon Hale! (She’s one hilarious MC)

3 – Using a commonly accepted expression for bad first drafts, which contains a swear word, in front of a group of attendees, getting some laughter and also possibly scandalizing the grandmother of one attendee.

4 – Seeing my friend DaNae there, who bravely stepped out of her comfort zone and brought her picture book manuscript for critique.  Go DaNae!

5 – Assisting Brodi in reenacting the time a woman hit on her at the SCBWI conference in LA.  You see, Brodi was dancing at the Blue Moon Ball and… wait, you know what?  She tells it much better.

6 – Having dinner afterward with a group of writers I admire, and realizing that I’m pretty lucky to be a part of this community.

To cap things off, here’s a picture that was taken of all the presenters.

photo credit: Gailon Tucker
photo credit: Gailon Tucker

6 responses to “Writing for Charity”

  1. Look at you standing there Iike, “I could pull Jessica George’s hair at any moment, and Brandon Mull is standing in my shadow.”

    Thanks again for the push. I still have whiplash.

  2. Awesome recap, Matt. And I loved that you said the s- word. It’s so descriptive, and one of my favorite chapters in Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird”.

    Now… Dance, Matt. Dance like the wind!

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