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The Edmond’s Writers on The Sound (WOTS) conference was a huge success. Writer’s conferences can either drain me or leave feeling inspired, re-energized and excited to get back to work. It’s always fun to celebrate our collective passions and artistic endeavors with like minded people. There were first time conference attendees, and sage writers from as far as Colorado that came in on the Edmond’s train.
|Conference center courtyard|
Some of the classes were wonderful, some not so much. Here’s some of the good stuff;
On Friday I, along with about 30 other novel writers participated in a five hour workshop with my writing guru, Robert J. Ray . The day was filled with insights, epiphanies, laughter and lots of writing exercises. I’ve said it before; Bob is a tough task master (he needs a whip), but he really helps you get to the essence of your story. Check out Robert Ray and his writing partner Jack Remick’s blog for craft, style and good old writing advice; http://weekendnovelist.com/website_rewrite/weekend_novelist_blog/#comment-71
Of course I then spent the rest of the weekend fending off Bob’s wanna be followers and answering questions about what he’s like, how to participate in his writing groups, how I go to know him, and so on. I felt like his agent. So, LISTEN UP everybody; buy one of his books, and if you’re in the area come join us any Tuesday or Friday (2:15-3:30) at Louisa’s Café http://www.louisascafe.com/ have lunch or coffee and write with us, which means bring pen and paper. We write old school.
On Saturday the classes that really stood out for me where I gleaned the most information were Laura Christianson who owns Blogging Bistro http://www.bloggingbistro.com/ If blogging is your thing, she’s got programs, classes, and everything you’ll ever need to get up and running.
Saturday after lunch we all walked drove or bicycled a few blocks to the theater to listen to Natalie Goldberg. See article below.
After lunch, the exuberant Roy Stevenson who, as far as I could tell moves through life at rapid speed and has experienced more article publishing success – in the shortest amount of time of any writer I’ve ever heard of – taught about query letters . If you want to publish articles, you have got to check this guy out http://www.roy-stevenson.com/roy-stevenson-northwest-travel-writer.html
Nick O’Connell, one of Seattle’s travel writing experts always teaches a good class, full of tips and practical ‘been there done that’ advice. Sign up for his newsletter; I’ve received it for about a year now and I actually read the articles (which I can’t say about most e-letters). http://thewritersworkshop.net/
On Sunday I was tired and didn’t particularly care about which class I attended so I chose the class with the instructor whose name resonated with me (often by the 3rd day my decision making powers are diming.) Mindy Hardwick (ha-ha!)…and I was so glad I did. Even though I don’t write romance, I learned a great deal about structuring even the slight romance I have in my novel and making it resonate with my readers. It’s important to take classes outside of the genre. If you write romance, take a crime class, and vis a versa; you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn. Mindy’s class was a great surprise to me and I plan on attending again whenever she teaches. She has a lot to say on the tender art of love. Check her out @ http://mindyhardwick.wordpress.com/
On Sunday Six of us hustled down Main Street to the Thai Cottage (best Thai food in Edmonds) grabbed the last table and shared several yummy dishes of drunken noodle, green curry and more. For some crazy reason we talked about romance writing, and how the Vikings rampaged through the middle ages (I don’t know – -you had to be there).
After lunch, the hysterical, talented, funny and oh so dramatic, Craig English, award winning author of both fiction and nonfiction taught about writing humor. He teaches for the UW Extension Program and for 25 years he worked as a professional actor in the Seattle area, has done TV and radio commercials, and voice-overs. I never thought of my life as a resource for funny articles until his class. We cracked up for an hour and half, learned how to mine our lives for humor and learned a lot about dealing with the hard stuff though humor. Wow! Loved this guy. http://www.anxioustoplease.com/contact/index.html
Dawn Pichón Barron taught the sleepy exhausted writers in the last class of the weekend. It’s a terrible time slot and she had her work cut out for her, but she rose to the occasion. She’s casual, funny, smart, witty, slightly sarcastic in a very compassionate way, and makes it comfortable for participants to share their work. We participated in some good instructional exercises, wrote, read and listened. She is founder and curator of Gray Skies Reading Series. Check her out – http://www.dawnpichonbarron.blogspot.com/
I attended a few other classes that either did nothing for me or that I didn’t enjoy at all. I choose to not trash those instructors in my blog. Maybe they were having a bad day, or maybe what they teach doesn’t resonate with me. I wish them well and move on to those who do. You’ll have the same experiences; no need to talk bad, just move on to the positive and remember that the class you hated may have been life changing for the person whose foot you stepped while you were trying to sneak out.
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