Today was the first day of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference 2013. It’s my hometown conference, and the only one I can realistically attend until my child gets a bit older. The rain came down all day, but a little tropical storm could not deter the brave souls attending the conference. I think opening speaker Ed Rendell would agree that we of the writing community are NOT wusses.
Former Governor and Mayor Ed Rendell opened the conference with a funny and energetic speech, giving us a behind-the-pages look at how his new book came into being.
From there we all moved on to our first classes. My class was with the personable Carla Spataro, who began our education on Plot in Short Stories. She shared a troubleshooting exercise with us that was amazingly simple yet effective, and it helped me figure out the problem with one of my short stories. Yay!
After a lunch break, where we could brave the rain or eat at the buffet laid out by the hotel, we returned invigorated for the afternoon sessions. My afternoon began with Jonathan Maberry and Keith Strunk’s Act Like A Writer, wherein they try to get all us introverted writers to have some fun being in the spotlight, and to think about the public persona we want to share with our fans.
I had to leave the Act Like A Writer workshop to actually act like a writer and pitch to an agent at the pitch sessions. I had the pleasure of talking with Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary Agency, a warm and knowledgeable man I enjoyed chatting with (even if our table was abnormally high and we felt like small children at the adult table—but, hey, it gave us something to laugh about!).
Then I moved on to Solomon Jones’ engaging and insightful Novel: Character workshop. He gave us a lot to think about in terms of why we write what we write and why it’s significant to us—and why knowing all of this is important before we write a word.
I wrapped up my day with a short workshop on Blogging by the forthright and funny Cecily Kellogg, where I learned a great deal and now have a list as long as my arm of technical things I need to either learn to do myself for my blog/website or pay someone else to do. Time or money, the eternal trade off!
If blogging didn’t interest you, the workshop on self-publishing explored the exciting opportunities for authors in that area.
Other options I did not have time to explore were Poetry, Playwriting, Memoir, Young Adult, Nonfiction and other Short Story and Novel workshops. So much to do at the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference!
I can’t wait until tomorrow, when the rain will have moved out and this record crowd of writers meets again. The energy and creativity simply hum.
I will recap days 2 and 3 here Saturday and Sunday, and J. Thomas Ross will post pictures of the Conference on Tuesday along with her impressions of the conference.