On June 8th through the 10th, 2012, a group of writers, editors, agents, publishers, and others involved in the literary world gathered at the Holiday Inn, 4th and Arch Streets in beautiful Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the sixty-fourth annual Philadelphia Writers’ Conference.
The conference opened with an upbeat, rousing, and inspiring address from the opening speaker, bestselling author Jonathan Maberry. Jonathan emphasized the importance of positivity and of supporting other writers and the whole writing community, which includes agents, editors, publishers, book sellers, and librarians.
After the opening speaker, one-hour sessions on a variety of topics are offered at the beginning and end of each day’s sessions. For the time between,however, the conference has a unique (at least, in my experience) format, where attendees sign up for three workshops that consist of three one-hour sessions, one a day over the three days of the conference. The advantages of this format are many: the presenter can provide more information; time is available for questions; conversations with attendees and questions asked during a session can change the focus or direction of the next day’s session; the time between sessions gives attendees time to process the information and come up with questions for the next session that might otherwise go unasked and unanswered; spreading the session over three days rather than having a three-hour session makes the presentation less intense and mind-exhausting; and … session leaders can give homework! (Ugh!) A three-day session can be a problem for those who cannot attend all three days of the conference, but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Fellow Author Chronicles blogger Kerry Gans and I met up after the opening speech. We both attended the same morning session — Young Adult/Middle Grade with YA author and Associate Agent Marie Lamba. At the beginning of each session, Marie had a list of resources written on the white board. She divided each session into three segments: what MG/YA writers need to know, some exercises for us to do at home (though not homework due the next day), and a more in-depth look at writing for tweens and teens. She spoke about the necessity of finding an authentic voice, identifying and addressing the fears and concerns of those in your target age group, the importance of creating and maintaining the fictional dream, and much more.
After lunch, Kerry and I attended the workshop Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal — Where the Twains Meet with bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Caridad Pineiro Scordato. Caridad provided us with recommended resources and handouts each day. To begin, Caridad presented the definitions of and the likenesses and differences between these related genres. She discussed world building — important in all fiction, but vital in these genres; the hero’s journey, a classic component of the genres; creating compelling plots; and classic archetypes and how they can be used to create multi-dimensional instead of stereotypical (one-dimensional) characters.
While Kerry chose Jonathan Maberry’s Novel: Characters workshop, I decided to try something different and attended the Poetry II sessions with poet and University of Pennsylvania creative writing instructor Lynn Levin. This workshop focused on lyric poetry and the turn and counterturn. In each session, Lynn presented brief information about lyric poetry: its history; the importance of point of view, voice, and tone; intellectual and emotional shifts; rhyme; and chapbooks. We examined lyric poems with a different focus each day: love, nature, and ideas. Lynn also gave us a poetry writing prompt to complete at home. We opened the second and third sessions with people reading the poems they had written based on the prompts, and the results were impressive. Not only were the poems creative and beautifully written, but the authors were also excellent readers. Bravo to the budding poets in Poetry II!
There’s so much more to share! Look for Part II tomorrow, with information about and photos of the one-hour sessions and other events. Also check out my personal blog post: Philadelphia Writers’ Conference — Tips and Photos.
We’re happy to announce our trio of week 2 giveaway winners: SHANI BUSH, BRYAN PRINCE & ROSA CRUZ!
We have a signed copy of Jonathan Maberry’s ROT & RUIN, DEAD OF NIGHT, and ASSASSIN’S CODE. Each of our winners will receive one of his books.
There are still 3 weeks worth of prizes to give away, so come on and enter the giveaway!