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Hilldawg
04-05-2012, 12:13 AM
I will be attending the Thursday preconference of the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado. While I've been to many library and education conferences, this will be my first professional writers' conference. Can anyone offer advice and tips to make the most out of my day?

Thanks,
Hillary

CrastersBabies
04-05-2012, 02:32 AM
I'm in Colorado too and though I haven't been to the PP con, I hear it's one of the best. If they have a pitch slam, you should definitely check that out. Otherwise, I just try to cover topics and seminars/workshops where I am lacking.

Though, keep in mind, a lot of it will be reduced to the most common denominator and may not challenge you as much. You can still get a bit out of it, though. :)

I would definitely check out Kristen Nelson if she's going to be there.

MaryMumsy
04-05-2012, 04:12 AM
Wear comfortable shoes. Wear comfortable clothes. Don't be nervous. Every one was a newbie once. Don't drink to excess. Don't corner agents/editors in the ladies room. If you still have time to get them, have business cards with your name, email, and phone number (if you want to give that out). These are for agents/editors who ask for them, and also to exchange with other attendees you want to keep in touch with. Always have a pen handy for making notes either on your cards or some one else's.

HAVE FUN!

MM

Hilldawg
04-05-2012, 06:17 AM
Thanks for the great feedback. I guess I should mention where I'm at in my writing. I have several short stories under my belt, too many unfinished pieces, and the beginnings of a novel outline. I'm not ready to pitch yet; I'm just hoping to learn as much as possible about the industry that I don't already know (I read a lot of writing reference). I also want to learn about the new genre I'm trying my hand at - YA lit. And of course, networking is also on my list.

Hillary

CrastersBabies
04-05-2012, 07:20 AM
Networking at conventions is definitely an plus to attending. For me, I don't get a lot out of workshops because some are really geared toward basics. But, they might also have advanced classes.

I will say this, one of the best workshops I ever attended was one about how film can help the fiction novelist. It drove so many plot issues home for me and was a wonderful lens through which to see my work in a new light.

Hilldawg
04-23-2012, 06:59 PM
I thought I'd share a brief recap of my conference experience. Overall, it was great. I opted to only attend one day (not quite ready to leave the baby overnight yet) and thus attended the Thursday pre-conference track on writing for young adults. There were 8 workshops lined up in a row on various topics such as Finding Your Voice, Dialogue, Writing for Boys, YA Nonfiction, Dismembering the Popular YA Novel, etc.

I have never written for a YA audience before. I typically write Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and/or Horror for adult audiences but recently decided to try YA. I am a youth librarian so I know a fair amount about the market already. But I think the conference offerings were pretty on track with my needs in this regard. I learned a great deal and what I already knew, was reinforced.

One of the coolest parts about the conference was that I was surrounded by my idols. Not specific individuals, but published authors in general. That is what I aspire to be. And they were just regular people. Not only did they lead workshops, but they also sat in on workshops, asked questions, engaged with other attendees. It was so inspirational! I am definitely planning on attending the full conference next year.

Hilldawg
07-12-2013, 06:31 PM
So I was just reading back through my old threads and I thought I'd post a little update on my second PPWC experience. This year, I attended the full conference and it was such fun that I plan to do it again next year.

Over the whole weekend, I ended up attending 13 workshops. Of those attended, only one or two weren't very helpful. The rest were fantastic. I transcribed my notes from my favorites on my blog if anyone is curious: http://thehorrorlibrarian.blogspot.com/

The highlight of the weekend was the 1-2-3 Read & Critique session I attended. In this session, the first page (16 lines) of the author's novel was read aloud (anonymously) to a panel of an author (Libba Bray), and editor (Deb Werksman), and an agent (Nicole Resciniti) and instantaneous feedback was given by all three. Mine was the last to be read so I was sweating silver bullets throughout the whole session, hearing other author's works being "torn to shreds" (not undeservedly, I might add). Finally, mine was read. I was too nervous to take notes so I recorded the critique on my phone. And the response was unanimous - they all loved it! The critique lasted less than five minutes but I was in five minutes of pure happiness. In the end, the agent requested the full manuscript (when its done).

And then, later in the conference, Barry Goldblatt (Libba Bray's husband and top New York agent) also requested it, based on Libba's reaction to my work.

What can I say? I am so stunned (still, months later).

So now the challenge lies in the fact that the novel is not yet finished. I told both agents this when requesting and it is specifically why I attended a critique session and not a pitch session. I know the number one rule of pitching - don't pitch an incomplete novel - and I totally respect that. So I've been working my rear off trying to pull all the pieces together and hope to be able to send it off mid-fall.

Wish me luck!

And for those of you considering whether writing conferences are worth the butt-load of money - Hell Yes They Are!

AgathaChristieFan
07-12-2013, 06:52 PM
Congratulations Hilldawg!!! That's huge! I'm really excited for you. Happy writing and revising, revising, revising...LOL

D.M.S.
07-12-2013, 07:25 PM
Hilldawg, that's great news! Congratulations!

I think you might have sold me on conferences. I've been reluctant because they can be quite expensive but the critique session sounds intriguing. I'd really love to get that kind of pro feedback.

I've done a lot of workshops and have given and received many critiques and so I'd like to think I'm pretty professional about it all and that I have pretty thick skin, but I'm curious: how did others react to their work being "torn to shreds" ?

S. E. Muylaert
07-12-2013, 08:12 PM
Congrats! I wish you luck and know you'll be able to do it if you set your mind to it :)

Medievalist
07-12-2013, 08:32 PM
Wish me luck!

And for those of you considering whether writing conferences are worth the butt-load of money - Hell Yes They Are!

The good ones are, but mostly, this shows how very hard you've worked.

I'm so pleased for you!

CrastersBabies
07-12-2013, 09:08 PM
Hilldawg, awesome on your experience. I really wanted to go this year, but the funds simply were not there. I am definitely going to check out your blog, though. Thank you for posting the information there. :)

kestra
07-12-2013, 09:10 PM
That's amazing. I can't wait to go to my first conference.

heza
07-12-2013, 09:35 PM
Congratulations on the requests; I hope it results in contracts!

Good luck on finishing up and sending it off! Keep us informed.

Siri Kirpal
07-12-2013, 11:15 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Wonderful! Best of luck on completing the wip!

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Karen Junker
07-13-2013, 05:53 AM
Hilldawg -- congratulations! Best wishes on completing your manuscript!

D.M.S. -- I've been putting on a writers' workshop that does critiques (both by peer writers and pros) and I've seen at least a couple of people in the corner in tears over the past few events. If I find out someone had a bad experience, I give them a free registration to come back the next year and try again.

Sometimes feedback is given in a manner that seems harsh to the recipient, no matter how much experience they've had in giving and receiving critique. Sometimes the person giving the critique is just plain rude. Not the desired situation, but it does happen. At our workshop, if we find out someone was out of line, they don't come back.

Susan Littlefield
07-13-2013, 08:54 AM
My advice is to have fun and really enjoy the smorgasbord of classes and presentations found at good writers conferences. I can't wait for writers conference we have every other year where I live. It's coming up in April 2014.

Hilldawg
07-13-2013, 11:36 PM
Thanks everyone! So happy to receive all the well-wishings!

I'm curious: how did others react to their work being "torn to shreds" ?
Because the critique was anonymous, there was no one trying to offer any defenses and/or explanations of their work. But I did notice some head nods or shakes within the audience and one woman who was sitting next to me seemed really upset with her critique (which I happened to be surprised by because I thought her first page was intriguing).
I think that by making the critique anonymous and strictly timed, it didn’t allow for much lingering. Hopefully the critique was taken in the spirit it was given – to make someone’s first page better. I had never heard of an agent requesting anything from a critique session before so I don’t think that the attendees should have really beat themselves up over not getting a request because I don’t think anyone (and certainly not me) was expecting that.

Hilldawg, awesome on your experience. I really wanted to go this year, but the funds simply were not there. I am definitely going to check out your blog, though. Thank you for posting the information there. file:///C:\Users\hnraque\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\0 1\clip_image001.gif
Send me a message if you go next year! I’m definitely planning on going back. And do check out the blog, most of the workshop leaders have read my notes and have sent me comments that they were pleased with my transcriptions.

D.M.S. -- I've been putting on a writers' workshop that does critiques (both by peer writers and pros) and I've seen at least a couple of people in the corner in tears over the past few events. If I find out someone had a bad experience, I give them a free registration to come back the next year and try again.

Sometimes feedback is given in a manner that seems harsh to the recipient, no matter how much experience they've had in giving and receiving critique. Sometimes the person giving the critique is just plain rude. Not the desired situation, but it does happen. At our workshop, if we find out someone was out of line, they don't come back.
That’s really awesome, Karen. And that’s one thing that I noted about Pikes Peak as well – their conference planning committee really worked hard to make sure their workshop was top-notch. They had workshops for every line of writing work. And they were rigorous in seeking feedback and suggestions.