I had often heard – as I’m sure most aspiring writers have – that writing conferences are an invaluable resource for having face-to-face time with editors and agents, getting feedback on your work, and just learning some good old tricks of the writing trade. And I was lucky enough to spend this past weekend at the Southern California Writers’ Conference, courtesy of director (and author in his own right) Wes Albers.
And I now understand what all the fuss was about. This was a three-day writing extravaganza, packed with opportunities, information and advice. There were agents and editors on hand, doing one-on-one critiques with authors. Read-and-critique sessions ran throughout each day, and there were even overnight rogue critique sessions, which lasted as long as the participants remained awake.
There were workshops on every writing topic imaginable – plotting, pitches, editing, women’s fiction, memoir, bang-up first pages, graphic novels, building platforms, micropresses, nonfiction, hooks, genres, screenplays. If it involved writing, they discussed it.
At these conferences you’re surrounded by talented writers, all serious about their craft. (The admission fees for most conferences aren’t cheap, so it’s safe to assume that most people willing to shell out several hundred dollars to be there aren’t joking around.) With the presence of so many writers in one place, there developed a unique energy – something that made you just want to be creative.
There were numerous speakers as well, including Selden Edwards, whose thirty-year quest to get his first novel published ended in a two-book, high-six-figure deal with Dutton. (That novel, by the way is The Little Book, and its sequel, The Lost Prince is now available as well.)
So between the chance to meet agents and editors, the plethora of information available, and the human embodiment of why you should never give up, the conference was more than worth it.
The next Southern California Writers’ Conference will be in San Diego during President’s Day weekend, February 13-18, 2013.