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.