As many of you know, I had the good fortune of attending the Surrey International Writers' Conference this past weekend. If you've never been to a writer's conference (or even if you have), I'm telling you, this is the conference to go to. The workshops are varied and informative, no matter what you write, the opportunity to pitch and get feedback from professionals is superior to any other conference I've heard of, and above all, the friendly camaraderie among writers at all levels and industry professionals is nothing short of incredible.
I wasn't the crazy note-taker that I sometimes am at conferences, but I wanted to pass along a few of my personal highlights:
1. The guy that came up to me in the hallway and told me his kids are my fans.
2. The writers (you know who you are!) who I was able to encourage by sharing some of my personal failures and successes.
3. The three new workshops I was able to book while chatting with teachers and writing groups at the conference.
4. The self-publishing workshops with author Jodi McIsaac and the detailed and highly informative chat I had about self-publishing with author Elena Aitkin. I will be adding some info on this topic to the AuthorStarts website soon!
5. The hands-on training in Presentation Skills with author and presenter Anthony Dalton. I had to get up and do a cold-reading from his book (a book I had never read) while he was pretending he had fainted during a presentation. I had to take over and read until he relieved me. A good challenge!
6. Author Janet Gurtler gave a great talk on cliches in YA, and I came home with a huge list of things that I have done and ideas of how to make them more unique.
7. Great list of things to keep in mind when Writing Heroines, a workshop by Susanna Kearsley. She mentioned how most of these things come naturally to us when writing men, but we have to pay special attention not to skip over them while writing female characters.
8. The awesomely inspiring keynote speeches, especially by Jane Porter and Bruce Hale.
9. The theme! This year's theme was heroes and villains, and here is a little pic of me and a few of my friends:
The weekend was jam-packed with learning and networking and fun, so I could probably go on for pages here, but these are a few things off the top of my head. All I can say is make it a point to be there next year--third weekend in October. You will not regret it!