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This past weekend, I did something I’ve never done before. I went to a writing event, sponsored by the Eastern PA chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators–SCBWI for short.

It was great.

At this point, you might be thinking, so what? Writers and aspiring writers and even many casually interested folks attend these every day. I’ll concede that, mostly, you’re right. So you need some background.

When I was a young writer, wide-eyed and naïve, I dreamt of writing for a living. Writing movies, actually. I bought books on style and structure. I subscribed to several writing and screenwriting magazines—read them cover to cover. Fantasized about seeing “By Tom Hoover” fade on over some breathtaking vista or urban action scene.

It’s why the official Tom Hoover YA Author site can be found at bytomhoover dot com. My website is my byline.

Then, disillusionment struck, blindsiding me like my muse has so often done. I was in a college class, Film Appreciation, analyzing the script-to-screen process, and started up a conversation with the girl sitting next to me. Turns out she was writing the series of “expert” screenwriting articles I was reading—she took the notes from our class and sold them to the magazine as an expert. And they published her, as an expert.

I cancelled my subscription.

Color me jaded. Betrayed.

YA Author Tom Hoover on Attending a Writing EventSince then, I have viewed these magazines and events with a certain wariness and distrust. Not helped at all by the barrage of ads like Internet-late-night-TV, telling me I can write a bestselling novel in as little as two weeks. You’ve seen them. I even blogged about them.

Years pass. I grow. I’d say I mature, but no one would believe that.

Now I am taking my writing through the primeval forest that is the publishing journey. And I open my heart once more. I want a guide. And tips. And, of course, gifts—only 100 or so shopping days ’til Christmas, and you’re gonna want to do better than last year.

I’ve visited a number of writer’s groups in my search and been invited to seminars on how to find time to write. For the record, there’s no such thing—you either make time or you don’t write. I’ve met some really nice people at these groups and didn’t go to the events, but, like U2 says, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

But I did this weekend.

Too bad they’re like 400 miles away.

Maybe we can Skype.

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