Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Conference Highlights

This weekend I attended the DFW Writers’ Conference put on by DFWWW. It’s their second year and I thought it was a success.

Bob Mayer delivered the keynote speech at Saturday’s lunch and then hung around to present five workshops. Five! He’s a master of a no-nonsense, sensible approach to writing and the publishing business. Know what you’re up against and conquer it.

I got to hang out with my writing partner, Pamela, and a few critique partners, (Elizabeth, if you had a blog, I’d link you!), meet some new writers and enjoy what I love most—learning more about the writing process and talking about books.

Two agents had unfortunate emergencies that kept them away, but the remaining agents did double duty trying to make sure everyone got a chance to pitch. And they did so pleasantly.

Even though the agent to whom I pitched The Bodley Boys didn’t ask to see it now, he asked thoughtful questions which have prompted me to spend the last few days slightly tweaking the plot. He said if I could figure it out, he’d like to take a look. His suggestions were in line with my current revisions, so even though it set me back a bit, the book will be better in the end.

Tidbits I learned at the conference (many from Bob Mayer—sign up for his Dallas workshop at the end of May if you missed seeing him this weekend), or tidbits I knew but just had to hear again:

1. Can you state the original idea for your book in 25 words or less? If your pitch is a mess, chances are your book is too.
2. You don’t have to write what you know—write what you are passionate about. I knew this, but it’s always nice to hear again.
3. Write complex characters. Every character thinks the story is about them.
4. Book dissection—study the books and movies that work. I recently pulled apart The Thirteenth Tale and Ghostwalk and refer to my notes often.
5. The plot has to be logical. Even in a ghost story.
6. Don’t get caught up in the query/submission process and forget to keep writing. Write the next book, and be thinking about the one after that.
7. Keep your blog current. ☺
8. Keep the boot you wore when you broke your toe. You never know when you're writing partner's dog might slash her foot and leave her with stitches and a sore foot.

3 comments:

PT Hammonds said...

I agree with all your 'notes' especially the last one. You were a lifesaver. And you had some crutches in the car--just in case! Thanks for toting me around, too. My alternative was to ride around on the Flying Turtle my kids have in the garage. Doubt if anyone would have taken me too seriously.

Susan said...

Joan- enjoyed the conference and meeting you Look forward to getting together with you North Dallas girls soon!

Anonymous said...

You're listening. Good girl.