"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Friday, May 3, 2013

Speaking of writers' conferences

Yeah, I know. No one was speaking of them. So just listen while I speak.

You all probably know that I have a new book coming out in a very few weeks. From the Horse's Mouth: One Lucky Memoir is my horse's story about his life, and how breaking his leg changed us both.

You also all probably know that I go to two writers' conferences a year, both run by Southern California Writers' Conference, headed up by Michael Steven Gregory and Wes Albers. They hold one conference in San Diego on President's Day weekend and one in Newport Beach in September.

I've told the story of how I was inspired to write Snoopy's book after attending a workshop by Charmaine Hammond. What I don't know if I've made clear is that all of my novels have come from SCWC.


Even if I don't get the inspiration for each plot at these conferences, this is where I've learned the rules of the fiction-writing road. I learned how to tell what genre I'm writing and what its rules are. I know that no one walks in a novel -- they stroll or amble or wander (willy-nilly is optional). I know that a chapter should never end with my character going to sleep. (Being knocked unconscious doesn't count.) All of these things came from sitting in workshops, or reading my first few pages in a read and critique session.

If you are a writer, especially one who is floundering about the publishing arena, you need to go to a working conference. Naturally, I'm recommending SCWC, but if you can't get there, get somewhere. Meet other writers. Mingle with agents and publishers without seeing them as aliens from Planet YouSuck. Find out whether complete strangers are enthralled by your writing, and if they aren't, find out how to make them enthralled.

Also, a good conference should teach you how to learn about the business. The times, they are a'changing.

SCWC is offering a discount if you sign up early (the "Early Bard" discount), so if you're interested you should hop over and sign up. Space, as they say, is limited (even if it is the final frontier).

Michael and Company made a series of animated videos dealing with writers, agents, and editors. They are humorous AND timely, which is amazing since they were made three years ago. I suppose that makes them timeless. Here's the first one:

Check out the others.

Also, if you want information about Snoopy's book launch, go to his blog. He's got the scoop.

1 comment:

Tameri Etherton said...

The SCWC is a great conference for writers on every level in their career. I think everyone should come to this conference, either Newport or San Diego, but you know I'm partial to the SD one just because it's my hometown.

I must remember ~ characters don't go to sleep at the end of a chapter unless they are conked on the head. I think I'm guilty of the former and need to change it to the latter. Good stuff here, Gayle!

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