This past weekend, I attended the Write Stuff Conference, run by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.
Professor Lee Upton, one of our wonderfully talented creative writing professors, had told me about the conference two years ago when I was a freshman–but for two years the deadline always snuck up on me too quickly at the end of winter break. But this year, Prof. Upton not only wrote to remind me of the registration, but also managed to get me a double student discount and an extended deadline for my registration. Even now, I’m not sure I’ve thanked her enough for her help.
On Saturday, I drove out to the conference and met with a series of very interesting writers, editors, and agents. I attended presentations throughout the day on topics such as inspiration, internet platforms, the future of authorship, and how to write suspense. What I really enjoyed was meeting other authors and agents who either had similar questions about writing/publishing or had answers (What really marks the difference between YA and Adult Fantasy? Do I need to have a blog or just a website? What to do/what not to do when pitching?) And I learned a lot about the genre in which I write and about how to think about my own writing.
Since the conference, I’ve been doing some research and work. I’ve worked on some editing (and gotten myself promptly, and thoroughly, psyched out about my writing in the process, I think) and learned how to write queries and synopses. I’ve also been doing some work into my own genre and discovered that niche I fit into–I think the reason I’ve never loved reading Fantasy as much as I write it is because so much of the genre, including what’s big now (think Game of Thrones), focuses on such huge casts of characters that it is hard to keep track of them and to develop them as deeply as I typically want in the books I read. Fortunately, there is a section of Fantasy that does focus on that aspect, like I try to do. And also fortunately, doing research on this subject means reading and writing–and that I can do.
As a very privileged member of the Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship, I’m also hoping to bring back some of the material I learned and to share it with my fellow creative writers. And this is important to me, and fun, because I am definitely one of those writers who enjoys talking about writing–it may not be true for everyone, but I think a lot of writers find it helpful to talk as I did over the weekend.