Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 14, 2015

Philadelphia Writers’ Conference 2015: Day Three

AC at the PWC“The magic number 3.” 

More than one workshop leader talked about the magic of number 3. We have the rule of 3, it takes 3 repetitions for people to remember something, and stories have 3 acts and 3 parts (beginning, middle, end).

This third day of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference kept the high note of creativity and enthusiasm that marked the weekend. As is typical, the conferees felt very comfortable by the last day and many of the workshops burst into laughter from time to time.

Today’s single-day workshops were:

“Essentials of Self-Publishing” with Merry Farmer

Merry Farmer’s Self-publishing workshop was packed with people and with information. We all hoped that next year she might have a 3-day course, because Merry had much more information than she could impart in an hour. In fact, I saw her the rest of the day constantly surrounded by conferees peppering her with questions! The biggest message from Merry was: Don’t go into self-publishing unless it is what you really want to do it and invest the time and money to do it right.

I then went to the final day of Fran Wilde’s Short Story workshop. Today we focused on revising the 3-scene short story (there’s another #3) we’ve worked on for the past 2 days. We talked a great deal about the “hook” line and the “sinker” line—the first and last lines. The last line should refer back to the opening in some way, completing the circuit. Doing those two lines helps you focus your work as you revise. Although Fran worked us hard, we came away with a rough draft of a story and—as advertised—a toolkit to allow us to write and revise more stories in the future.

“Social Media” with Don Lafferty

Lunchtime found us back in the Bourse. We got a glimpse of the Gay Pride Parade going down Market Street when we returned to the conference for our final afternoon.

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Catherine Stine discussed creating 3 different length synopses (there’s #3 again) and told us about her experiences and missteps in finding and having an agent. She also reviewed some of our 2-sentence synopses and answered many of our marketing questions.

“Writing the Novel” with Solomon Jones

Solomon Jones was back at the helm for the final day of his Novel workshop. We put together the Setting we had created on Friday with one of the two Characters we created with Greg Frost yesterday. For some reason, Solomon did NOT want to utilize the ghost character, so we went with the Irish grad student. By the time we finished, we got to see how creating the setting first helped us shape the characters, and how creating the characters suggested relationships between them, which suggested the conflicts within the story, etc. In this way we brainstormed the basis of a story from the ground up and got pretty deep into the conflict and themes. (Although I still wanted to add a ghost.)

The day wrapped up with the Publishing in a Digital World panel, which I did not attend. My brain could take no more!

“Closing Panel: Publishing in a Digital World” with Christine Weiser, Peter Krok, Don Lafferty, and Anna M. Evans

I usually include the PWC contest winner in the Day 3 recap, but this year the PWC already has them up on the website, so here is the link!

The 2015 Philadelphia Writers’ Conference brought us 3 days of magical wisdom, opportunity, and camaraderie. Many thanks to the PWC Board and everyone else who worked so hard to make this conference successful. I came away with new craft ideas, new business savvy, new friends, and even a short story. The learning and the laughter was well worth the price of admission.

For 3 days we immersed ourselves in the magic of writing, to fortify us in the year ahead. I look forward to experiencing the magic of 3 again next year!

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