Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My first national writers conference

Remember those "Should I? Shouldn't I?" posts about this writers conference moving from Nashville to Orlando when the Opryland hotel flooded? I decided to go for it and booked myself into the RWA national conference at the Dolphin Hotel in Orlando. RWA is the national association for romance writers and has a big-time conference. I had to go when it was Nashville, but when it moved, I was a little less sure. Still, 2000 writers, representing all 50 states and 14 countries (ask me how I know Azerbijan was there. It was the same conversation when the lady next to me asked me if I knew my brother. Yeah. I do.)

Some of them are super superstars. Take keynote speaker Nora Robers, author of 164 bestsellers. Not books. She's written 191 of those. 164 bestsellers. Every book since 1999 has made it to the bestseller list. Or Jayne Ann Krentz who has successful careers with 3 different pen names in 3 different genres.

Or workshop topics like:
How to Finish the Damned Book
How Do You Mend a Broken Scene?
Put on Your Shorts: Writing the Novella and Shorter Lengths
Writing the Bestseller: 6 Magic Words
Humor, Heat, and Hooks: the Building Blocks of a Page Turner
Writing the Novel that Sells: Getting Started
Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know
A Guide to Great Beginnings
The Secret Life of Pantsers

And roughly 10 or 15 more for each one of these and also for the ones I skipped to go to the pool. I was on vacation. It took a lot of convincing to skip those workshops but I think I made the right choice, you know?

It was good. My choices were all beginner-y in nature but there were such great choices for anyone at any stage of the process, romance writer or women's fiction writer or suspense writer get the idea.

And also, I got free books. I bought more books at the booksigning, all to support a good cause, and then I got more free books, so by the time it was all over I had: the 3 books I brought, plus18 more. And I got them all in my luggage and carry on. And I didn't go over the weight limit. My bag weighed 44 pounds with about 14 books in it. I really wonder how I managed to dress and shoe myself for 5 entire days, but I've known for a very long time that books were important than shoes or clothes or nice hair.

Any time you go to a conference like this, people refer to two books on writing. There are others, but there are two that make it on every list. The first is Stephen King's "On Writing" that I read last year. And I enjoyed it. The tone, the advice, the's a good book. The second, Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" I read on this trip. I didn't want to hear someone else refer to it and not know. And this one a also funny and a little sad, with some good advice particularly for you perfectionists out there (I'm going to memorize the whole chapter to see if it helps me.) but the tone of this one is much more California than Maine so "On Writing" gets my vote as my favorite (and using words that are OK to use in California is her joke, not mine, but it does seem to capture the difference between the tones of the two books in a nutshell). If you're a writer, or like books on the writing journey, I'm going to have say both are excellent.

And now that I know everything there is to know about writing, I'm sure it's just a matter of time until I have my very own adaptation of one of my bestsellers on Lifetime. I can't wait!

1 comment:

pat sloan said...

how EXCITING! I;ve read Bird by Bird... twice.. i even OWN IT!