Writers’ conferences can be strange things. They are both at once energizing and encouraging while at the same time seem to be able to suck the air from your lungs and leave you groping for the path forward.
The conference this year was a bit more of the encouragement and a little less mist shrouded, though it took a bit of fanning to clear away the clouds and see what was actually happening out there. So I figured I’d take the chance to share my re-cap here as well.
The conference started off with the editor and agent panels, which I think are probably the worst events for a speculative fiction writer to attend. Usually because there will be at least one flippant remark as to how sci-fi and fantasy doesn’t sell and nobody wants it. Which isn’t 100% true, but it can leave you starting off the conference feeling like a kicked dog in a rainstorm.
However I hope the SFF get together later on Thursday night helped to assuage some doused spirits as we all met, chat, commiserated, boggled at the seeming prejudice against our chosen genre, and mostly just had a rowdy time. It was a great time of fun and encouragement to push forward through the mist and boldly go where CBA (Christian Bookseller’s Association) tiptoes.
I went to Randy Ingermanson’s continuing session, which was mostly about putting together the perfect synopsis and a few other things my brain is refusing to recall… ah yes it was the structure of a novel. From high concept, one line summary to the MRUs (Motivation Reaction Units). Basically the Snowflake method. Always a good thing to tune in on.
John Olson also taught two excellent workshops, the first was on Thrillers, though the basic principles of the session can be applied to any genre as needed. The second was on Writing science fiction and fantasy, or more appropriately, figuring out how to SELL science fiction and fantasy in the CBA market. As he said a few times throughout the conference, “Nobody is actively looking for fantasy, but they are acquiring it.” I would highly recommend both of these sessions to someone looking for what to buy on CD from the conference (once I know the link on where you can get those CDs I’ll be sure to post it.)
There were many other little moments at the conference that helped whisk away the early mist and help me see that I really was standing on a mountaintop and let me move on encouraged and charged to return home and know that I’m not writing in vain (even if my stories never actually get published). But to relate them all would take far too much time and space, and I’m not sure I even understand them all yet.
But I’ll stick by my post from last week and say that the void continues to shrink. Even if some days it seems like all is covered in mist.
To order recordings of the conference click here!