It’s over. My first ever writers’ conference. And it was worth it. Exhausting as all get out – sessions started at 8 AM and ran until 5 PM each day. I learned a few new tricks and also gained a certain level of confidence that I’m where I need to be right now. (That would be my oversized ego talking…query rejections will fix that.)
So, some random thoughts, observations, lessons:
1. Ironic moment of the weekend: Listening to the woman next to me talk about how offended she was by someone who was chewing gum and yawning and how she’d always been friends with people of a certain level of upbringing and couldn’t understand how some people just weren’t considerate of others or classy like her. Then listening to this same woman loudly chomp on a series of hard candies throughout the entire presentation. Too bad she wasn’t classy enough or considerate enough to think about the potential reaction of those around her…
2. Favorite analogy of the weekend: Peter Senftleben comparing an information dump to watering a plant. If you pour too much in at once, it just runs out the bottom. (Or drowns the plant and kills the damned thing. But that part’s my little addition.)
3. Comment that mirrored one of my posts #1: Don’t store your paper near where you smoke. Beth Miller of Writers House commented that there’s nothing worse than opening a query and getting a whiff of stale cigarettes.
4. Comment that mirrored one of my posts #2: Don’t use read receipt. This one was also from Beth Miller. She said she moves queries she receives into a “to be read” folder, but when she moves them, the program asks if she wants to send read receipt. (I know you want to know, but just don’t do it.) (And can we pause for a moment of silence to mourn the fact that Beth Miller doesn’t rep what I write….Thank you.)
5. Most awkward moment I witnessed over the weekend: Editor gets into the elevator at the end of a long day and someone in the very crowded elevator says, “Can I pitch you?” Editor says, “No.” Then editor says, “Sure, fine. What do you have?” Person proceeds to pitch him on a genre he doesn’t even represent. If you’re going to pitch someone in an elevator, be sure you’re not wasting their time. James Minz, I am sorry you had to experience that.
6. And last, but not least: If you ever get a chance to sit in on a writing workshop with Debra Dixon or Carol Berg, do it. They were both fantastic.
And, of course, I somehow managed to buy books at a writing conference. Five of them to be exact. Three fiction and two how-to books. So many books to read, so little time.
Here are a few writing-related books that were recommended by more than one presenter at the conference:
- The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
- Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain
- Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
- Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
Haven’t read any of them, but they each got at least two mentions. So, probably worth a look.
And, with that, it’s time for me to turn my attention back to trying to fix that situation that went downhill last week. I have no problem being proven wrong, but I hate it when someone doesn’t have their facts together and makes my life difficult as a result. Know your shit people! (I swear, if everyone followed that motto life would be so much better for all of us….)
Oh! And nice moment of the day: Someone gave me a free Coke for helping them out with something. Karma feels good. 🙂
Sorry for any typos…I am tired.