Monday, November 18, 2013

Writing Workshops and Conferences

For me, it is exhilarating to attend a writing function like a workshop or conference.  Why?  To mingle with other writers and learn the craft.

I've been a very fortunate person.  I've not only had the pleasure of attending these functions, but for several years I assisted with a writing conference and then became the coordinator.

Talk about being on both sides.  Wow!  As an attendee it was exciting to rub elbows with published authors, meet agents and publishers and glean so much knowledge from the sessions.

Then, as an assistant to the coordinator and a speaker or presenter, I really got the adrenalin pumping.  When the coordinator stepped down, I was offered the reins and I was flabbergasted at the honor.  Little did I realize the amount of work that is involved.  I learned.  I survived.  And finally, due to unforeseen issues, I had to step down.

But that doesn't mean I can't attend these functions or be a speaker.  The past couple of weeks have been an adrenalin overload.  I was a guest speaker for a writing group and discussed Deep POV.  Uh, that's Point Of View for those who don't know what POV means.  Then last weekend, I was a guest presenter at a writing workshop.  Again, adrenalin pumped in my veins and I was on a high.  This time I spoke about Looking Inside the Corners of the Box to learn more about your character. I did my session and had a hands on segment that was well received -- the participants actually were willing to share their off-the-cuff writings. Also, the following presenter loved my presentation since it was the prefect segue to her session.

As a published author with over 17 books to my credit and countless articles and short stories written, one would think I would find it difficult to learn a new trick or two.


The other two speakers at the workshop who followed me were exciting and knowledgeable authors themselves.  At each session I was able to glean a couple of tidbits to use to my advantage and increase my writing and marketing skills.  I don't believe anyone ever learns everything. To think that would be pompous.

As the current year begins to finalize its cycle, I highly recommend that each writer who is reading this, take the time to research any local workshop or conference on writing next year and attend at least one, if not more.  I figure I can drive upwards of 200 miles to learn a secret or two about writing to help me in my success as a writer.  One lament I heard that I want to squash in the bud is this: There's a workshop nearby but it's by a romance group and I write horror. What could I learn?  WHAT?  

Review the syllabus of the workshop. You'll be surprised what you will learn to make your horror writing standout.  A session on 'character depth' is valid whether it be for romance, horror, science fiction or even westerns. Character development is critical. By attending a -- okay, we'll call it off-genre -- workshop, you will learn and become privy to a new trick or two that you can add to your repertoire.

Also, not every agent or publisher attending a romance workshop or conference is purely there for romance. Agents and publishers do multiple genres and you might just stumble onto one who is willing to discuss your latest horror endeavor.

Worst case scenario of the above would be -- you'd meet some wonderful writers who might become lifelong friends.

Until next I ramble on...


  1. What a great idea to attend a workshop in a genre you don't write! Many books have a chapter that dips into a different genre to move the plot along. Why not make that chapter stronger by learning the tips and tricks?

  2. It's invaluable to attend these types of events. How else can we keep fresh and not fall into bad habits? We're only human. Thank you Bob!

  3. Great job Bob! What a dynamo you are! That is a sure fire way to say up with all things writing, trends in writing and so on! Love it!