I was fortunate earlier this month when I was able to attend the "Storytelling" conference put on by Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA). Various classes were scheduled, from how to create a fantasy world to marketing your own writing. The cost of attendance (less than $400) included all conference activities, classes, two dinners and free Mai Ti's. Lest you think all the writers in attendance were liquored up, the free drinks came with the Hawaii themed dinner we had one evening. The rest of the time, we were largely dry.
I met some amazing fellow writers and we all basked in a sense of community. Awards were given out as part of the annual literary contest (various categories) and the winners were given the podium to read from their winning entries. Some of the writing was amazing. One woman (mystery category) wrote about an older woman who discovers a dead body in her yard. The writing was fantastic and more than warranted the first place position it was given. I'm looking forward to seeing this writer published in the not-too-distant future. Personally, I wanted to hear more and was disappointed that she was limited to such a short time to present.
C.C. Humphreys presented, reading from his new book Vlad and reciting the St. Crispen's Day Speech from Shakespeare's Henry the V. What an amazing presenter. His speech focused on the craft of voice and was also motivational in nature. His book Vlad, which he happily signed for me, is next on my cue to read. It's promising to be a great piece of historical fiction centering around Vlad the Impailor. Most folks know him by this particular moniker: Dracula.
We also heard from resident Author Robert Dugoni who hosted several panel discussions and also discussed the mechanics of writing. As always, Mr. Dugoni was entertaining, on-the-mark and informative. His books aren't half-bad, either.
The keynote speaker, Steve Berry gave us all the inspiration to do more than just consider writing. He discussed his "overnight" success as an author, while detailing his personal road to publication. He also took part in the agents' forum and provided some insight into working with agents.
I'm really glad that I went to the conference. I learned quite a bit and found the motivation to start submitting work, regardless of potential for rejection. One of the speakers brought it home with this statistic: 90% of prospective authors who are asked by agents to present their work for consideration, never do.