Writers’ Conference Fun

I attended the Lancaster Christian Writers Super Saturday one-day writers’ conference on Saturday, April 8, 2017. It was so much fun because the speakers and seminars were extremely helpful and informative and because I was able to connect with some old friends and make a couple of new ones.

It’s always fun to connect with other writers because they understand me. They think like me. It’s great to be able to share challenges and successes and to be able to support and encourage each other.

I know I’ve said this before, but if you’re a writer and you haven’t been to a writers’ conference, you really should go. I’m sure you would enjoy it. I know most writers are introverts (including me), but you know, even we introverts need to step out of our comfort zones once in a while, and I don’t think there’s any place better to do that than with other writers because you’re guaranteed to have a common topic of conversation.

Here are some highlights from the day:

My dear friend, Mike Dellosso, author of Centralia and Kill Devil,  was the keynote speaker. (I’ve posted a couple of book reviews of some of Mike’s books here in the past. I’ve done an author interview with him as well and included some of his books on several of the Top Ten Tuesday posts I’ve done in the past.)

Mike was the first published author I ever connected with in public in regard to writing and he has been a great help and encouragement to me, and I can always count on him to give it to  me straight. Last year he looked over a few pages of my WIP and informed me that it was “lifeless”. Yes, he said that, but then he said, “I’m sorry, that sounded harsh.” And he followed that up with suggestions and explanation of how to fix the problem.

Anyway, his keynote this year was very good and inspirational. One quote that sticks with me: “Wherever you are on the road in your writing, that’s where God wants you at this time. Do your best.”

I also attended two seminars presented by Roseanna White, author of Lady Unrivaled. She presented a seminar on “Fiction Rules and When to Break Them” — one example: “Show Vs. Tell”: The Rule: Do this as much as possible because it may take longer and consist of more words, but it makes the story vivid. Her second seminar taught what’s important in a book cover and how to be sure the cover of your book is both professional and eye-catching, as well as the fact that it should evoke emotions, questions, or interest, and convey something important about the book.

Laurie Edwards was a fun speaker. She did a seminar about “Adding Emotion to the Page: Surefire Techniques to Connect with Readers” as well as a seminar about “Information Dump or Dramatic Flashback? Using Back Story the Right Way”. She had us do some very intriguing exercises in each seminar that really drove her points home.  She told us a story about a conversation she had with someone who asked what she did for a living, to which she answered that she is a writer. The other person asked a few more questions, one of which Laurie answered with, “My characters talk to me.” After a pause, the person she was speaking to said, “They don’t really, do they?” We all laughed. Non-writers just don’t understand those of us who write.   🙂

There were also seminars on marketing, social media, organizing your WIP for effectiveness, and how to turn your life into award-winning fiction. I was not able to attend any of these seminars.

At these conferences, several seminars run at the same time and you have to choose the ones you believe will be most helpful to you where you are currently at in your writing. However, I did pick up a book about marketing and one about social media. I can always read and study on my own. I actually do this a lot. There’s something to be said for being “self-taught”. Some of the most successful people in history were “self-taught”.

Have you ever been to a writers’ conference? What was your favorite thing about it?

Top Ten Tuesday

Anyway, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, according to The Broke and the Bookish is “Top Ten Things Books Have Made You Want to Do or Learn About After Reading Them”.  Being a homeschool mom, this is an easy list for me because we read books and then go to learn things because of what we’ve read.  🙂

  1. Two years ago, two of my sons had an assignment to write an historical fiction story, and my youngest decided to write a story about the Pony Express, so we read several books about the Pony Express. I can’t remember a specific book, but the books we read left me wanting to learn more and gave me my desire and idea to write the current novel I am working on, so I have done a lot more research and learned a lot more about the Pony Express.

2. Misty of Chincoteague by [Henry, Marguerite]

I read the entire series of Misty books by Marguerite Henry with my youngest son, and we loved them so much that we wanted to see Chincoteague and the ponies. So, I looked it up online and planned a vacation, and two years ago we went to Chincoteague and Assateague for a week. We saw the ponies and visited the Chincoteague Museum where we participated in a fun scavenger hunt and saw the family Bible of the Bebee family, the family who were the main characters of Marguerite Henry’s books. We found out that the Misty of Chincoteague series were true stories!

3. 423156

Our first year of homeschooling, I read this story with my two oldest sons, and it made us want to know more about horses. Therefore, we studied horses that year as well.

4. Sybil: The Classic True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Personalities

I saw the movie based on this book when I was a young teenager. It fascinated me. Being the first story of Multiple Personality Disorder many people didn’t believe it. When I got older, I read the book and still found MPD fascinating, so I did a little bit of studying about it. It is a very real issue for some people. It’s just quite rare.

5. A Girl of the Limberlost (Limberlost, #2)

I read this book just a couple of years ago and it taught me that not all moths are ugly, which is what I always thought. There are actually some very beautiful moths, and I studied moths a little bit afterward to see what some of the beautiful ones look like.

6. Little House on the Prairie by [Wilder, Laura Ingalls]

When I read this book in elementary school, I enjoyed it so much I wanted to learn more about when the country was young and what it was like to travel in a wagon train. Over the years, I have studied this time period and traveling by covered wagon quite a bit.

7. Centralia (Jed Patrick series Book 1) by [Dellosso, Mike]

This is a more recent read, and our family had driven through Centralia once several years ago, and I found it fascinating. After reading this book, my curiosity was once again piqued, and so I’ve done a bit of research on Centralia.

8. Nick of Time (A Bug Man Novel) by [Downs, Tim]

This book has a character who has a bunch of dogs that she trained in a very unusual way that I found absolutely fascinating. Ever since I read it, I would love to learn how to train dogs the way that she did, but I haven’t been able to find anything on it.

9. 

When I read this book when I was younger, it made me want to learn more about why people years ago accused women of being witches. Many years later, when my husband and I were first married and we went to visit one of his sisters in Massachusetts, so I checked to see how far it would be to Salem, and we were able to do some touring there to learn more.

10. 

This book made me want to learn more about rabies and how it affects animals and how much of a danger it is to people.

This list actually turned out to be harder than I thought it would be because I haven’t kept a good reading list for most of the years I’ve been reading. Also, as I created this list, I realized that my desire to learn more about something in particular comes more from nature and my environment and/or news topics than from books I read.

How about you? Have you dug deeper into something because of books you’ve read?