Yesterday I attended the 4th annual writer’s conference right here in Avondale. I attended the first conference back in 2010 for free. The town put it together with grant money. It was very well attended. What writer in her “write” mind would pass up a free conference.
I enjoyed it very much, but the next two years with a $100 price tag and no poetry focus, I didn’t register. This year the price went down slightly and breakfast and lunch were included. Also I have a big birthday coming up in two weeks. I decided to treat myself to an early present.
Wow! What a difference charging to attend makes. I talked to someone who has attended all four years and he said every year attendance has dwindled.
There still was no poetry focus. I put on my survey sheet to try and get Alberto Rios as a speaker next year. Yes, Arizona finally has a state poet laureate. However, I did enjoy meeting other writers and the workshops were fun.
The first keynote speaker, Annette Rogers from Poisoned Pen Press, spoke about the hook in the first page/ paragraph of your book. She also said to make sure your book was perfect before sending it on to publishers. Now I got Poisoned Pen Press is a small press and they don’t require agents to sell one’s book. But there is a huge difference between a well written book and perfection. The press does have editors. You tell novice writers to seek perfection they’re going to freeze.
Fear of perfection
Keeps my pen at a standstill
Freezing me in place
Well onto our first workshop. I chose the Fanfiction one. Yes, folks, I overcame my fear of submitting my writing to perfect strangers to judge writing Fanfiction. I submitted my Star Trek stories to the Strange New Worlds anthology. I never had one accepted, but I met some wonderful writers the years I submitted and received some great critiques. That very first year I submitted to Strange New Worlds, 2002, I sold my first story.
I always enjoyed reading and writing Fanfiction. I just finished reading Who Killed Kennedy by David Bishop. A very well written Doctor Who Fanfiction. Yes, you can actually get paid to write in someone else’s playground. Though most writers do it for free. It’s a fun genre and I enjoyed the speakers in this workshop. Though I was amazed how many of the writers did not know of the existence of Fanfiction or of fanfiction.net.
The second workshop I attended was Story on the Spot, hosted by page one literary center. And yes, we wrote stories on the spot. Each workshop was only an hour long not enough time to really work out a story. But we collaborated with other writers and had to work off the cards from the story telling game.
My table got romantic suspense as a genre. Yuck! Where is Sandi Layne when I need her. Still we managed to brainstorm something which may turn up on page one’s website. We were their guinea pig group. And they did say a workshop like this would most likely be at least three hours at their facilities. I said, poetry would have been a better genre with only an hour to work.
More on the rest of the conference in another post.