At the beginning of the conference, before a session even started, I scribbled 5 goals in my journal:
- To surround myself with other creative people
- To find ways to jump-start ideas
- to get unstuck with my blog
- Discover some authors
- To finally be a writer
Number 5 will take time. In the first session entitled Writing as a Full Time Job, author and publisher A.P. Fuchs laid out what it takes to do it. What sound like an impossible task pretty much takes time and effort. He urges aspiring writers to move from ‘aspiring’ to actually ‘doing’. The doing may actually save a great deal of sanity. In a profession whose path has rejection and fear as their bricks, writing the next thing, then the next, and asking questions gets people far. Fuchs actually said, “It’s a marathon not a sprint,” which caught this runner’s attention. In running it’s the first and last miles, in writing it’s getting that first word and last word. After that just let the piece go.
The workshops had loads of useful information. In Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?, the panel talked about ways to outline a story. After years of thinking otherwise, someone finally said, “You don’t have to follow a story exactly as outlined.” Plus it’s either/or with a hint of depending on what you’re doing.
World Building proved surprising discovery. One of the panels is Kelly Armstrong author of the ‘Women of the Underworld Series’. Mapping your world does not confine itself to Narnia, Westeros, or Middle Earth. It’s more than physical setting as Ronald Hoare said about having a castle in a valley, but no farms or livestock. It’s about the rules, how they work, and how to show the reader the environment the character calls home. By ‘environment’ it means rules for werewolves and vamps with the research to give an answer at a moment’s notice. It’s all about the details and people do notice them.
I had more candour in 10 Things Writer’s Have Little or No Control Over. I figured if my assumptions need a little work, it’s best to know what’s out there before heading down this path. Writers have little or no control over covers, pricing, and most importantly how something gets received. The thread throughout this while weekend involved having a thick skin. As writers dealt with the fantastic a more appropriate metaphor is have a really good suit of armour. The dragons may breathe fire on you, but each scar makes a person a little stronger.
For more information about the festival, its programming, and the authors featured this year head here:
The brain still has feels a little overloaded from the weekend. At least creatively things feel like they finally started to move