"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

Monday, September 23, 2013

Oy vey.

So much to do, so little will to do it.

I'm home again from all the conferences. I swear I love the SoCal Writers Conference oodles, but it wears me out. I come home both energized to be a writer and too pooped to pick up a pen. I'll give you a few highlights before I say, "Neener, neener, you missed it." Then of course I'll direct you to the page for the February conference in San Diego.

I can never get a clear picture of Michael - he's always on the move.



THE WORKSHOPS:

I sat in some really good ones. Marla Miller and Jennifer Silva Redmond always run a great workshop they call The Pitch Witches. Read your pitch, then sit back and learn. I usually don't have anything to pitch, but I love to go and hear what works and what doesn't work. Pitches, loglines, and jacket blurbs are harder to write than the damn book.

My other favorite workshop was Jenny's on how to be your own acquisition team for your own book. It involves a lot of talking to yourself, which I'm good at. Marla and I snuck into Drusilla Campbell's NovelCram, just to watch her work. Totally cool.

I gave two workshops. The first one, "I've Written the End - Can I Self-Publish Now?" went really well and we had quite a few people. (BTW, the short answer is No. The long answer is Hell, no.) The second one, "Rhythm, Pace, and AMUSEment" also had a fairly large audience and was well-received.

Here's the thing: I use PowerPoint slides for both, mostly to keep myself grounded and on track. Both workshops have an equal number of slides. The self-publishing workshop ran out of time. I ran through the rhythm and pace workshop slides within half the allotted time. We still kept talking about writing and editing and things we do for craft, but if Michael asks me to teach this again, I gotta expand the slides by a bunch.

Several people asked me for copies of my slides, so I must have done a good job!

RUNNING WITH THE BIG DOGS:

For the first time as a workshop leader, I was given two (!) submissions by authors for me to read and evaluate. The first one even requested me. I was excited yet frightened. Both manuscripts showed promise. I liked a lot about each one. However, both required work. Would the writers take my notes in a positive light, or would they assume a defensive position and argue with me? Would they be sane or make me call Wes for security?

They were both lovely women who were anxious to learn, to have their questions answered, to have me say what they suspected. It was a wonderful time.

THE PEOPLE:

This is my tribe, my group of people that I can discuss writing and publishing and not feel self-indulgent because they're up to their ears in the same topics. If I list everyone I saw and hugged and talked to, well, I'm sure I'd leave someone out and then they'd read this and be disappointed. I hung out a lot with my editor, Jennifer, and with Marla, slummed a teeny bit at the registration table with Melanie, Laura, Heather, Oz, and Rick, and finally caught up with Claudia from Michigan. I see these people on Facebook a lot, but it's not the same as face time.

I also got to chat with the directors, Michael Steven Gregory and Wes Albers. We were missing a few faces this time. Judy Reeves and Cricket Abbott got some kind of waiver to do other things, Laura Taylor had an emergency (she's fine, thanks), and Rick's wife Linda decided at the last minute she was just too exhausted to drive up. To show Linda how much we missed her, Jen and I took pictures of each of us kissing Rick and Jen posted them to Facebook.



That's just how much we care.

Heather was the person who summed up the weekend for me. We were both dragging our tushes around the conference rooms on Sunday morning, after being up WAY TOO LATE Saturday night. She said she had been so tired she was almost falling asleep and knew she should go to bed, but she loved being around these people so damned much, she couldn't leave the party.

That was my feeling, too.

SO:

Neener, neener, I got to spend a fabulous weekend doing fabulous things with fabulous writers. Jealous? Then here's the link for the February event. http://www.writersconference.com/sd

See you in San Diego.

4 comments:

New House Girl said...

Hi Gayle,
The conference sounds great! I wish I'd been there! Although reading your post makes me feel like I WAS there! The SCWC Community is a special one. I too am thankful to be part of it and I hope to see you and the other rugrat writers in San Diego in February!
--Alicia

Gayle Carline said...

You're coming to San Diego? Squee! I want to get some copies of your book, but I want them autographed.

Tameri Etherton said...

What a cool recap! I'm sad I missed the conference (and that kiss with Rick, which by the way, I thought was actually from/for me). I probably won't be in San Diego in February (don't hate me!), and I'm sure you'll have even more fun with the SCWC peeps. Your powers of neener neener are strong, my friend. I'm totally jealous.

Gayle Carline said...

Well, yes, Tameri, you were the definite instigator of the Rick Kissing Event. Somehow, it morphed into the Rick-and-Linda Kissing Event, then when Linda didn't show, the whole thing went further astray. This wouldn't have happened if you had been at the conference, BTW. Just sayin'.

Miss you!

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