This feels a bit like an essay I did once in school. What I Did This Summer by Diane Bator. Remember those? Only this one is about something I did for the first time as a published writer. I attended a writer's conference. Yes, it's taken me eight novels to finally get to one!
I've read about friends traveling to conferences all over the place but was lucky that the Writers' Community of York Region sponsored one in Newmarket, Ontario this past weekend. This was the first event the WCYR had ever hosted and it was well attended by over 100 writers from all over Southern Ontario.
We started the day in the atrium of the Newmarket Town Hall with coffee and muffins and received a great new folder to take notes in. After a few brief words from on of the coordinators, we broke into groups for our chosen morning sessions.
My first session was with romance novelist Zoe York, author of more than 50 romance novels. She discussed Marketing for Genre Fiction. A lot of writers in the room were either looking to publish a novel or had published 1 or 2 novels. The one thing I found most interesting were the questions she gave us to think about no matter where we were at in our journeys.
- What genre do you want to be writing and what type of books do you want to write? ie. genre, heat level, setting, tone, etc.
- What are the next 5 books you want to write?
- Can you group thematically or do they exist in the same world? Explain that world in a common theme in a sentence or two. ie. small town romance with sexy cowboy.
- On a blank piece of paper, list all of your work to date, published or unpublished, finished or in draft/dream stage.
One of the other things they offered throughout the day were 20 minute Blue Pencil Meetings. The opportunity to sit with a fellow writer or editor and ask them questions as well as getting feedback on their novel. I passed on this chance for this conference, but other writers I chatted with were happy with the feedback they received.
Lunch was simple, soup and sandwiches along with some yummy chocolate chip cookies for dessert. While we ate, we were also able to purchase raffle tickets and enter them to win several beautiful baskets donated by sponsors, including the writing group I belong to. Draws were made at the end of the day. I didn't win any, but the woman who drove me to the conference did!
After lunch we were treated to a keynote speech from Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans and two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. He is a huge fan of being a Plotter when he writes his books. In fact, he plans them in great detail before he writes something I don't think I could ever do! I'm part plotter, part pantser. One thing he said that surprised many people in attendance was that he still works full time. After writing seven novels and receiving many awards, he still must hold a 9-to-5 job.
I was a bit concerned about the afternoon session. The handouts we'd received the week before suggested a very academic-style of session. Luckily, Kate Freiman, author of romantic fiction, was entertaining and the whole afternoon was more interesting than I expected. She discussed blending genres and story structure. Hard to believe I was the only self-professed mystery writer in the room.
Back in the main banquet room afterward, winning tickets were drawn for the gift baskets then my friend and I left. On the way out the door, we received a swag bag with some bookmarks and the like as well as three books. These were mine!
- Lac Athabasca (a play) by Len Falkenstein
- Doc Christmas by Neil Enock
- Mad Men and Philosphy, which is an anthology.
Yay! More new-to-me authors!
I have one year until the next (fingers crossed!) York Writers Conference. I may do some searching and find a couple more I can fit into my schedule.
In the meantime, I won't quit my day job, but I won't stop dreaming and writing either!
Looking for more New-to-You authors or familiar authors? Visit my blog every Sunday for Escape with a Writer Sunday at https://dbator.blogspot.com/
Feel free to check out my books at http://bookswelove.net/authors/bator-diane-mystery/
author of Wild Blue Mysteries, Gilda Wright Mysteries, & Glitter Bay Mysteries.