Saturday, August 05, 2006

Candie Moonshower: One Hilarious Harried Housewife...

A packed room of 100+ conference-goers were rolling in the aisles during Candie Moonshower's session titled by SCBWI: Ten Giant (but Essential) Steps to Writing & Publishing Your First Novel. (Candie's title: The Harried Housewife's Guide to Writing Your Novel in Seven Free Minutes a Day.)

But not only is Candie funny, has a fab haircut, and has, like, the best name ever. She's also a font of solid advice. Her path to publication took several decades. There was love lost and love found. There was a bounced check (for a class on plotting). There was deception. ("Yes, I've written the entire manuscript Ms. NewYorkCity Editor.") There was self-doubt. There were even a few instances of vomiting. But with a supportive manly roofer-spouse at her side, and a trusty laptop she can take with her to the bathroom, Candie managed to win the Sue Alexander Award, finish her manuscript, land an agent, and have her debut novel The Legend of Zoey published by Random House all while juggling a crazy everyday life. Not bad for seven minutes a day. (She did confess that once she discovered her kids had eaten all three meals of Poptarts, "but they were all different fruit flavors.")

A few of my favorite pieces of advice from Candie (excluding the advice immediately following the dirty joke which I'd be happy to repeat, but I don't think my delivery would be as good):

  • Stop writing--and read. She took a year off writing to read books. That's a serious exercise plan for writers. It paid off for Candie.
  • Decide if writing's going to be a job or a hobby. If it's a job, treat it like one. Join SCBWI, go to conferences, network, and take your job seriously.
  • Butt in chair, hands on keyboard, and type like mad. Candie doesn't believe in writer's block.
And I must share her quote from a certain Sylvester Stalone classic:
  • Mick to Rocky: "How can you fight the champ if you can't even catch a chicken." This is where she told everyone to caress CWIM, and learn about the market and about the business.

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