Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Good Time Was Had By All: Writers Weekend

I went to Writers Weekend in Seattle with an optimistic attitude and expectations about learning great gobs of good writing stuff. I came home smiling. Exhausted, but smiling. First, I want to say that Karen Junker, who puts on this weekend of creative madness, truly deserves many metaphorical and literal pats on the back. She went above and beyond to make sure everyone had a great time and she succeeded. I think it will take her an entire year to recuperate from all the work she put into this conference, but I certainly plan to attend again next year. The best part of a small gathering like this is getting the chance to talk with agents, editors, published authors and unpublished authors in comfortable, informal groups. You never knew who you'd find sitting in the little food room, and everyone was willing to chat. The lectures, discussions and panels were very good. The focus of this Writers Weekend was genres, and all sorts of permutations of category blending could be found. It was great to mingle with science fiction, mystery, fantasy, paranormal, paranormal chick lit, romance, etc. writers and to talk about the ways the lines between the genres are blurring. Pitch appointments were the source of much anxiety, and I slipped around that this time by not doing any specific pitching. I had already submitted my stuff to the one agent there who might have been a good fit for my paranormal women's fiction/chick lit w/romance elements and mystery elements, so I could relax and enjoy everyone else's success stories. And there were lots of them. I did talk to many published authors who strongly encouraged me to contact certain publishers and I'll definitely follow through on that. It was great to be able to put faces with the names of people I only knew through online groups. Meeting my critique partner Patricia Crossley/Margaret Dawson in person was the highlight of the weekend. Not to mention my roommate Lynn Jordan (request for a full manuscript! Way to go, Lynn!) and some of the FF&P loop members. One of my favorite authors was there -- Jim Butcher, creator of the Dresden Files -- and he presented several topics on various panels. In addition to enjoying his writing and his quirky, clever personality, it was neat watching Jim and his wife together. So sweet. And then if all that wasn't enough, I was surprised at the goth banquet on Saturday night to find out that my entry in the Writers Weekend's "The Scarlet" contest (The Vampire Shrink) was a finalist and then got a Judges Choice Award. I hadn't expected that at all! Sherillyn Kenyon's keynote address talked about a dark time in her writing career when -- after having achieved some success -- everything fell apart. Listening to her talk about how she came back from that rough patch was highly inspirational. Jim Butcher's stories about his beginning also energized everyone. The consensus seems to be that if a writer perseveres, learns the craft, and then develops her/his own spark/voice, success can definitely happen. The only thing I wished I'd gotten around to was going up to the Space Needle. It was only a couple of blocks away from the hotel, but when I went over there on Thursday afternoon the line was so long I couldn't convince myself to stand in it. But maybe next time.


Blogger Kristen Painter said...

Just wanted to say I love the title of your blog! Paranormality - so cool!

2:41 PM  

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