Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend and present at the annual writers conference hosted by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association in Seattle, Washington. While I wasn’t able to attend the entire event, I did want to take this week to report on my experience and share a little of what I learned as well.
I arrived on Friday afternoon, missing out on the keynote speaker and the agent/editor panels. Because I showed up late in the day, I decided to not attend any workshops, and instead spent the time catching up with old writing buddies and making new friends. I was glad to spend my time this way, as I met some really interesting folks, including a guy who wrote the strategies guilds for nearly all of the major titles released on the XBOX 360. My inner-gamer was thrilled when we actually got to share a table at dinner and talk video games.
Saturday was my day for attending workshops. I started the day with a presentation on world building taught by Nicole Persun. While Nicole and I have been friends for a while now, this was my first chance to take one of her classes, and she didn’t disappoint. The most important thing that I learned from her was that the world an author creates needs to be inseparably attached to their story, and that the story shouldn’t be able to happen in anyone else’s world.
The other workshop that I got a lot out of on Saturday was called “Laws of Attraction” and was taught by Elizabeth Boyle. This class was all about the sexual tension between characters, and I found it very useful for a book I’m working on right now. Unfortunately, there were a couple of my fans that were also in the class, so they heard a few more details that I would have intended as I got some feedback from the class on issues I was having with a romantic subplot. Guess I should start wearing a “Spoilers” sticker when I attend classes for my own work now. 🙂
After that, the remaining workshops that I attended at the conference were my own. I taught an abbreviated version of “A Novel in Four Drafts” on Saturday and “Make the Most of Your Writing Time” on Sunday. Both classes were well attended, and I had more than a dozen students say that my classes were the best of the conference for them. I was deeply grateful for their positive feedback, and I hope that many of them will return for more of my classes on creative writing in the near future.
Overall, I would rate my experience at the conference as a good one. While there were some logistical and scheduling issues that I hope will be resolved in the future, I had a great time, and feel ready to get back to my own writing.
I recently finished my first creative writing class for the continuing education program at South Puget Sound Community College. Called “A Novel in Four Drafts” this four-part series was both well received and well attended, and I’m so grateful to SPSCC for providing me with this fantastic opportunity to instruct and inspire other writers.
This class also marked the first time that I was able to work with the same group of students over multiple weeks, which allowed me to try out something new. In addition to my usual combination of lectures and focused activities, I experimented with some techniques designed to motivate students to write on their own during the week.
At the end of every class session, students were given several minutes to consider what they had learned, and make notes of how they could apply those things to their own work. After that, students were asked to create and share a writing goal that they would accomplish before the next class session. The following week, students would report on their progress, sharing their successes and challenges in a safe, open environment.
The response to this new approach was overwhelming positive. Rather than feeling intimidated, students that said they felt liberated by the goals and reporting, finding support and encouragement from their peers even as they continued to learn about the craft of writing. I was very pleased with the results of this experiment, and plan on continuing to use this method in all of my future classes through the college.
If you’re interested in checking out my classes, you can click the link below for a list of all of my offerings for the summer and fall quarters. Classes are open to the public and take place at the college’s Lacey campus in western Washington.
Click here for my list of creative writing classes through SPSCC
I realized this morning that I haven’t posted an update on my various writing projects since the release of Into the North, so here’s a quick rundown of how all of my current stories are going.
The Next Keltin Moore Novel
I’m happy to say that the third installment in my monster hunting series is going strong, though I’m still in the early stages of the first draft. I won’t say any more than that about the plot or characters though, so please don’t ask. 🙂
Lost Under Two Moons Sequel
I’ve decided to shelf this project for the time being, as I have been having major issues since I started the project several years ago. Perhaps with time I’ll come up with a story that will do my first novel justice, but for the time being, I’d rather dedicate my time elsewhere.
Another Short Story Collection
This will likely be my next publication, and will include several stories that have appeared in other collections, including a steampunk-themed adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe story and a space opera about a fantasy-themed resort planet. While I’m still deciding on the other stories that will be included, I do know that one of them will be an exclusive Keltin Moore short story, which should help keep fans satisfied until the third book is out!
My Mystery Project
I’m about three-fifths of the way through the first draft. That is all. 😉
Last weekend I attended to the Brass Screw Confederacy steampunk festival in Port Townsend to give fun presentations and sell my Keltin Moore series of fantasy adventures along with the rest of my books. While this was the third year for me at the Screw, there was one very big difference with this year’s event for me.
This was the first time I paid for a vendor table all for myself at an event. Previously, I had only ever participated in vendor halls at Cons and festivals by partnering up with other authors to share the table fees and reduce the risk of losing money at an event. Unfortunately, there are downsides that come with sharing selling space with other people, so I decided to take a risk and see how I would fare on my own.
There were a couple of reasons why I felt like this year’s Brass Screw was the right time and place to test my ability to manage a table on my own. For one, the Brass Screw has traditionally been a good event for me. Last year I sold out of The Beast Hunter at a shared table in the vendor hall, and during the year previous I had respectable sales despite only selling my books after a reading. Another reason why I thought this was a good time to try having my own table was that with the publication of Into the North, I now have four books of my own, not to mention artwork from one of my cover artists that I can sell.
So how did it go? Well, a lot of vendors I’ve spoken with will say that an event is not a failure as long as they make their table fee back, and in the three days of the event, I more than tripled that amount. Of course, I also need to consider all of the other costs that came with the trip, like gas, food, and the cost of printing the books, but I think that this trip has proved that under the right set of circumstances, I should be able to fly solo at certain events now.
That being said, I’m going to take a little break from genre-themed events for a while. My teaching schedule is going to be pretty heavy for the summer and fall, and I need to continue to be careful about how I choose to spend my time and money as I develop my writing career. But this last weekend was definitely a good sign as I continue to find a balance between being an artist and a businessman.
First off, I want to say welcome to the new home for my blog! I’ve been intending to transfer my blogging activities to my website for a while now. Hopefully, you will enjoy some of the improved features of this new platform, including hashtags for improved navigation of articles, easier commenting, and better access to my other online homes.
While I will keep my old blog up for the foreseeable future so that fans can peruse the more than three year’s worth of articles there, all new articles will be featured on this site. I’ll also be posting updated versions of old articles on this site, so be on the lookout for those.
With all that said, I wanted to take a moment and extend a special welcome to all of my new fans. Whether I met you on my recent book tour or you’ve discovered my books on your own, I want to let you know how much I appreciate you and your shared love for the stories that I’ve created. Feel free to get in touch with me via Facebook or Twitter if you have any questions about my stories or want to talk about the craft of writing. While I am getting busier all the time, I always try to myself available for my fans.
If you’d like to talk with someone other than me about my stories, there are some online homes for fans that you might want to check out. The two biggest ones are the Fans of Lindsay Schopfer Facebook page and the Goodreads Fans of Lindsay Schopfer page. Both are great places to meet other fans, talk about my stories, share theories, and enjoy artwork and images related to my work.
If you’re interested in helping spread the word about my stories, the best way to do that is by becoming a member of my Guild of Adventurers. You can check out my Q&A page to find out more about the group and the sort of things they do. Even if you don’t join the Guild, you can help out by writing an honest review on Amazon or another online retailer where my books are available.
Again, I want to say thank you to all of my new fans and welcome everyone to this new home for my blog. You guys are great!