If Day Two was characterized by its loudness, Day Three of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference 2013 was defined by quiet intensity. Three days of learning and networking had taken its toll on people. Although everyone was still lovin’ the learnin’, our brains were pretty fried.
But even with fried brains and exhausted bodies, the camaraderie and bonding continued. Everyone seemed at home, comfortable with each other in a way we hadn’t been on Friday. Jonathan Maberry drove the point home that we are all peers, regardless of whether we had been published or not, because we are all writers. I don’t think everyone felt that way on Friday—but I think we all did today.
I kicked off my day with Social Media, run by Suzanne Kuhn, aka SuzyQ, and ably assisted by her husband Mr. SuzyQ (otherwise known as Shawn Kuhn). Suzanne kept it simple and talked about who to connect with online and how to comport yourself online. Lots of laughter and lots of information.
If you avoided social media, you could have sampled Writing Features/Columns or continued with classes in screenwriting and poetry.
Then on to the third installment of Carla Spataro’s Short Story: Plot workshop. Today we examined how to SHOW character rather than tell it. After examining the techniques we could use for this, we did a character sketch. Why character in a plot workshop? Because the two should be inextricably linked, and it is almost impossible to talk about one without the other.
After lunch (when you could have caught part of the Gay Pride Parade on Market Street), we were back in the meeting rooms. In Act Like A Writer, Jonathan Maberry and Keith Strunk both gave gripping readings to show us how it is done right. Jonathan said we should always bring our “A” game to a reading or signing, while Keith added that even if our audience is ONE person, we need to perform as if all the seats were full. It is a matter of respecting your readers/fans—one or one hundred, they each deserve your best during an appearance.
Finally, Solomon Jones read us a mesmerizing excerpt from his book, as a way of exploring how to show character. He took a few random character sketches from the class (including one of a dog) and together we pieced together a plot. It sounded highly intriguing—I would have bought our book! We then tried to write a few paragraphs featuring any one of the characters in our plot. The highlight was a man who wrote from the dog’s point of view. My favorite line from his piece: “‘Woof,’ I said”. Then Solomon wrapped up with talking about the different kinds of self-publishing available, and emphasized that whatever we did, however we got published, we needed a plan.
I did not stay for the final panel (had to get home to my toddler). If anyone who attended the final panel, the dinner last night, or any of the other workshops wants to write something about them, either contact us or feel free to leave a link to your own blog post of the Conference in the comments—we’d love to share your experience!
Thanks to everyone who made the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference 2013 happen–it’s hard work and it is appreciated.
J. Thomas Ross will be here Tuesday with photos and her impressions of the conference. I had a great time, and hope to see you there next year!
And now, I will sleep.