Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Writers Conferences, Should You Go?

Tomorrow I’m off to one of the best writer’s conferences in the west, the Mystery Writers Conference at Book Passage in Corte Madera, Ca. (click here). Now into its twentieth year this one conference can do more to put you back-on-track with your writing and scribbling than any I’ve been to. Kathryn Petrocelli (creator, director, managers and general butt-kicker) exceeds my expectations every year and I know this event won’t disappoint. Her faculty this year includes Isabel Allende, Cara Black, Martin Cruz Smith (yes that man), Sheldon Siegel, and even Jacqueline Winspear. There are also legal experts, literary agents, retired FBI guys, gun experts, and even a judge or two to help get your story tight and right.

Three and one half days of listening, questioning and even one-on-one conferences, all in the middle of one of the Bay Area’s premier book stores, very cool. The conference count is limited so the chances of close conversations are amplified. If there is one part of writing that I like, other than the writing itself, is discovering how others get their job done. What is their inspiration, what motivates them, how do they attack a story, how did they get an agent? There are few conferences that provide these kinds of opportunities. Intimate is the best word to describe it.

In any given year there are hundreds of writers conferences that range from workshops and intense week long classes to the big events put on by the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) and other book publishing organizations. Some conferences gather in hundreds of writers (for a heavy entry fee) for an impersonal few days hanging out with other writer want-a-bees and others are serious with hands-on discussions and analysis. Some are focused on genres (general fiction, thrillers, romance, sci-fi, etc.) and others on the craft itself. There are a lot to choose from. Here’s a good place to start: (Conferences).

What I particularly like is the kick in the seat these gatherings provide. They do reinvigorate the brain cells and can get you back on track. I’ll report back next week with some of the ideas I gleaned from the conference.

More later . . . . . .

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