Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Writing Conference Reflections

Last week I gave a list of all the things I was excited to do while in Utah for the Storymakers Conference. It was a blast! I had a great time and learned so much. I'm home now, and have been reflecting on the conference for a couple days. It was my third time attending the conference, and my experience at each one has been so different.

In 2014, I was in the middle of querying my first ever novel, and had received nothing but rejections. I had a pitch session with an editor, and was looking forward to hearing Orson Scott Card speak at the keynote dinner. Having never been to a writing conference before, I literally thought those two things would be the only benefits I got out of the conference. (shakes head in shame at past Kara)

The pitch session was great, not because I was invited to send material to the editor (I wasn't), but because it was what I finally needed to let go of that first terrible manuscript and move forward with my writing. I got to meet OSC, which was cool, but even better was meeting the person in front of me in line to talk to him: Amy Wilson, who became my friend and someone who I swap work with!

Last year, I went to the conference as a freshly agented writer with a highly polished manuscript. Most of the classes I gravitated towards dealt with plotting a new book. And I have to say, not having a pitch session took away ALL the stress I felt at the first conference!

I used the plotting techniques I learned last year to plot a new book, and finished my first draft a month before this year's conference. The classes I chose this year were all tools that I could use while working on the second draft. In fact, during almost every class, I found myself scribbling notes in the margins of my notebook with specific ideas of what I could do to improve this draft. It was awesome.

Whether you're a newb or a seasoned writer, a good writing conference will have something for you. I highly recommend Storymakers. If you go in 2019, I'll see you there!

7 comments:

  1. I was there too! Wasn't Shannon Hale's speech amazing?

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    1. YES OMG. I love following Shannon on Twitter, and her keynote was like living her Twitter feed for an hour. She is so thoughtful and driven.

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  2. I wanted to go to this conference but was too late for registration. What was your favorite class?

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    1. That is a really tough call! I enjoyed every class I took this year (which has not always been the case). For me and my writing weaknesses, Cindy Baldwin's descriptive writing class was excellent, as was Becca Puglisi's intensive on using emotion.

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  3. I'm going to my first writing conference this summer and doing my first in-person agent pitch session as well. I'm terrified! But I'll be there with one of my writing group buddies, so she'll be able to make sure I don't hide out in the bathroom when I'm supposed to be pitching. :)

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    1. It's so fun to go with a friend! Good luck with your pitch session!

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  4. Sounds like you had a fabulous time. I wish we had one a little closer to home I could go to. Someday.

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