Writing Conference, Part 2

As I talked about last week, I recently attended a writing conference.  This was my first writing conference, and it literally blew my mind.  I had to retreat to my room to weather the subsequent crash in which my mind basically melted.

My agent appointment with Eric Smith went well.  I was a lot less nervous for having talked to him the night before.  He’s very laid-back and approachable.  After I blew through my deliberately short pitch, I discovered that we have a shared interest in queer YA, and he requested that I email him.  On the one hand, I love his energy and excitement.  On the other hand, I’m a little concerned because my research didn’t really reveal who he represents, and it turns out that he’s pretty new.  On the third hand, he’s with a very reputable agency, and the authors he does represent have books coming out.

My editor appointment with Diana Stout also went relatively well.  My synopsis was a train wreck and my Scrivener export had some really annoying artifacts in it.  I didn’t feel too badly about that, since I only had a couple of days between when I was told I could sign up for an editor appointment and when the materials deadline was, (oh, and I’d never written a synopsis before) but I wasn’t about to make excuses.  We had a very limited time and I was more interested in hearing what her overall impressions were.  She really liked the characters’ voices, but think I picked the wrong character as the main character.  After some reflection, I agree.  The character that I wrote the test chapter around isn’t as active as the second character.  I’m going to need to move some things around as I’m revising that draft.

The best part is that I’m extremely energized to get back to work.  As I’ve been slogging away through the business side of writing, the query letters and synopses and spreadsheets of agents I’ve researched, I’ve been getting more discouraged about whether my desire to do this is realistic or even sane.  The business side doesn’t spark my passion the way the writing side does.

But I’ve put a lot of time and energy into learning this craft.  I want to take it to the next level and elevate it to an art.  I want to get paid for my art.  And then I want to walk through a train station and see someone reading something I wrote.  I’ve been persevering since 2013, and not only can I keep on going, I owe it to myself to see this through.

Writing Conference, Part 1

I attended Write On The Red Cedar, a local writing conference, last weekend.  I’ve never been to a writing conference before, so I had no idea what to expect.  I’m still processing the experience.  After two days of constant social “on” time, my inner introvert is screaming that I need a break.  I’ve retreated to my writing cave to process my experience in the best way I know how–writing about it.

I loved the people.  I loved networking, I loved meeting other writers and authors, I loved talking to other people about the things that excited them.  Much like any other convention, it’s energizing to be among people who share the same passion (some might say obsession), to the extent where I basically had a social crash on my way home.

It was also very validating to be around people who don’t just treat writing as a hobby.  I love to write and I want to sell my writing.  The Capital City Writers Association bills itself as an organization for “career-focused writers,” and it really is populated by people who take writing seriously.

The programming was also good.  It seemed targeted both toward new and not-so-new writers who would like to be published.  A lot of the content of the “nothing to novel” workshop was nothing spectacularly new to me, since I like to read writing blogs, listen religiously to Writing Excuses, and have five or six books on writing.  But listening to Bob Maher’s little anecdotes, particularly about his experiences in traditional and indie publishing, made the whole thing worthwhile.  And the Saturday panels were somewhat limited in selection, but very good.  I’m glad they didn’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

That said, the preconference cocktail party was my favorite part.  It was a mingling event, and in my early conference boldness, I decided that I was going to try to talk to everyone in the room that I didn’t already know.  I talked to several agents, editors, and panelists, in an informal setting, about the things that excited them.  It was great.  It really reduced my anxiety about my appointments the next day.

I’ll continue this post next week, since it’s getting long.