Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wearing a writer's hat instead

I have absolutely nothing to say about knitting this week because I spent my weekend at the New Jersey Romance Writer's conference so I'm all fired up about writing. (Although I am making progress on the Rather Huge Noni Bag--14 stripes done, 6 to go!)

I thought some folks on the blog might be interested to know what goes on at a writer's conference. Well, at this one, four hundred published and unpublished writers come together and talk a whole lot about the craft and the business.

There are formal workshops given by authors, agents and/or editors. There are informal roundtable discussions led by published authors. Meals include speeches by famous, best-selling writers such as Karen Robards and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Editors and agents listen to pitches for books written by attendees. (One of the more nerve-racking experiences I have gone through was pitching my book. Have you ever tried to condense a four hundred page manuscript into three snappy sentences?) A goodie room offers bookmarks, excerpt booklets, pens, buttons, etc. free for the taking. Gift baskets are given away (I won a lovely holiday-themed basket). An elegant luncheon honors the booksellers who support all us authors.


(There's also a Saturday night "after-the-conference" party where we sing karaoke and dance the night away. No one even attempts to talk at that. A few of the party-goers are pictured above.)

Mostly though, we meet our fellow writers, share our experiences, and make friends. Being a writer is a solitary existence and I treasure the times I can come together with fellow practitioners of the art, people who don't think I'm a little weird because I hear voices in my head. It reminds me of why I do this crazy thing and reignites my creative fire (coincidentally the theme of this year's conference).

So, anyone want to know anything else about writer's conferences? Has anyone else been to one and would like to share their experiences?

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Linda B. said...

Nancy,
I can't imagine how fun that conference would be for all of you. All those wonderful conversations and intellectual banter. Sounds wonderful.

I do have a question. What is the most used method of starting a book?
Dictation? Hand written? Computer?

Thanks!
P.S. Oh, and did you meet with any other knitters?

9:40 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

One of these days I will get to go to a writer's conference. Though I am seriously not looking forward to pitching a book.

One of the cool things I've found about my online writing group, however, is that they all want short summaries of plots... so I've gotten decent at coming up with one-liners. It's good practice, at any rate.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Linda B., most writers I know use a word processor of some description to write--although I'm not sure they necessarily START that way. That said, there are some who use pen and paper and a few use dictation because they have hand and wrist issues. It's really up to the individual and what works for her/him.

Personally I cannot imagine creating an entire novel on anything other than a word processor with all its convenience in globally changing names, searching for words, etc. When I wrote poetry (long, long ago), I used a yellow legal pad but for long prose you can't beat a machine!

I didn't get a chance to talk knitting at the conference although I did see one lady with her needles at a workshop--but she was across the room from me.

Nicole, sounds like you're way ahead of me on the pitch thing. In reality, editors and agents are almost universally nice to us pitching writers and if your work is something they buy or rep, they'll usually request a partial. Many, many folks at the NJRW conference got requests, sometimes multiples, in fact. So I always tried to convince myself it was no big deal to pitch but my nerves never listened.

11:58 AM  

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