Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Edmonds Writer’s Conference Write Up

One thing I love about community writer’s conferences is the community. They’re friendly, welcoming, less stress than the big ‘I need to pitch an agent’ types of conferences. Writer’s On the Sound, WOTS is one such conference. WOTS focuses on the community aspect, the welcoming educational components for writers honing their craft and making writer friends. This year’s conference delivered craft tips, tricks, mastery and a lot of smiles.

On Friday I attended the 4-hour workshop with Robert Dugoni, who always gives a good class. I had some epiphanies that unblocked an issue I was having about my novel which I’ll write about in greater detail in a later post. Anyway, now I’m clear on some things and feel unblocked and can move forward with confidence. What a gift. If nothing else came of the weekend that would have been my pot of gold. But, there was so much more. Here’s a clip of Robert talking about scene settings.


Saturday we all walked to the Edmond’s Theater through the falling crimson leaves, blinded by the sun reflected off the waters of the Puget Sound – and then we crowded into the historic Edmond’s Theater where the Arts have been supported since the 1920’s. There we listened to the key note speaker, NYT Bestselling author Carla Neggers who was fabulously funny, entertaining and inspirational.  Here’s a clip of Carla talking about putting your work out there and getting feedback before you’re ready.

Then there’s that itty-bitty woman with huge talent, Bharti Kershner who was ubiquitous at the conference, seeming to be everywhere – I asked her to stop stalking me – she said the same back. We laughed. Bharti taught a class about adding sizzle to your writing. Her experience as a globally recognized author with tasty talent, and her down-to-earth approach to writing with sultry-sizzle pulled some great stories out of the class. I love some of the workshop take-aways like writing exercises and then hearing what others have written. Her class was informational and instructional on how to use food & spices and what those elements bring to a scene.

One big surprise for me was in a class I was charged with monitoring (as a volunteer), titled, A Dark and Stormy Night, (gotta love it) anyway, it was taught by Neil McNeil a Para-psychological expert who has been an investigative consultant to the Evergreen Paranormal Group, as well as a parapsychology consultant for television and film.
I had ZERO expectations of the class relating to me or my writing, but was greatly surprised, engaged and informed. Neil knows his stuff and is a good teacher, he and his material was interesting and captured the curiosity of the audience. Of course, who doesn’t get goose bumps when talking about ghost stories?  What writer doesn’t want the success of a book like Twilight, or The Exorcist? Whether you’re writing ghost stories, interested in paranormal (which has a broader definition than I’d realized) or living with ghosts, or just wondering if that’s grandma standing over your shoulder, check him out at Neil McNeil. Fascinating! Oh, and Neil also teaches at local community colleges. No matter what I do, his photo will not load upright. Ghost toying with me? I wonder…..

And just before a stunning sunset on Saturday, Rick Steves, our celebrity travel guru in Edmonds gave a generous talk about being a travel writer. No one has had greater success as a travel aficionado and global expert, and more importantly no one teaches the history, politics and humanity of other countries with such laid back sophistication as Rick.  If you want to be a travel writer who delivers more than a sunny description of place, this is your mentor. Great class. Check out his book, Travel as a Political Act.

The WOTS conference is not a Type-A ‘elevator pitch’ kinda conference. It’s a Type B (is that a type?) anyway, relaxed, fun and informative. Both types of conferences serve a need and purpose; the most important thing to know when you attend smaller local conferences is what they focus on, and what your expectations are for the conference. I’m a self confessed conference junkie. I love them; all kinds, business, arts, writing, tech, home shows, I love to learn new things and after 30+ years of going to business and arts conferences, I’ve learned a few things and one is that when a conference has a good staff like WOTS, with a leader like Sarah Cocker, it all runs smooth and the attendees have a good experience.
If you aren’t aware of your community conferences, then take a look at ShawGuides; just type in your city, what genre you write and viola! Local conferences. Check them out, support your local arts and keep an open mind, who knows you might meet a Para-psychologist who knows how to add ghostly sizzle to your Vampire love story. Or a lovely Indian woman who can show you how to spice up your scenes or a key note speaker who makes you laugh out loud and feel like maybe you’re not the only one who writes like you write or thinks like you think. And then maybe you’ll meet a NYT best selling legal thriller writer who can show you how to organize all the craziness into one concise manuscript without losing your mind. Who knows! Or a celebrity travel writer who can guide you to other worlds where you can write, create, escape, learn and then return and educate the world through your writing. Who knows. It’s all possible if you expose yourself to the culture, edification, experience and many different forms of your art.

2 comments on “Edmonds Writer’s Conference Write Up

  1. Kay
    October 13, 2012

    A stunner of a just-right-length, video-enchanced sum-up of a WOTS experience. This was my first WOTS and I loved it, for all the reasons you touched on!

  2. Judith Works
    October 13, 2012

    It was an excellent conference – the best yet!

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on October 13, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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