Sunday, October 21, 2012
My First Writing Conference
My writing conference on Thursday at the Loft Literary Center was awesome. It was just so cool for me to meet other writers and talk with them, and to get advice from authors in person. Plus, the building is so cool. All of the walls are exposed brick, the floors are hardwood, there are lots of comfortable chairs, and there’s a lot of writing and reading-related things around the area? What could be better? Anyway, I’ll now stop digressing. You’ve listened to my ramblings long enough.
I got there very early, so for about an hour I sat in a nearby coffee-shop and typed away, feeling very much like a stereotypical writer. So be it. I checked in once it was time, met some new writer friends, and kept writing. Next, everyone went to a Keynote by John Corey Whaley. He was very funny and inspiring. Some of his main points were about finding ways to love writing struggles and making mistakes, to become obsessed with your stories, and tips about finishing stories differently if you’re stuck.
Next, I went to a lecture on points of view. I saw one of my friends from school there, and so that was fun. The presenter was very interesting as well. We learned about many different parts of points of view, who narrates it, its pros and cons, and when you use it, generally. For example, I learned that second person is the narration form “you,” and it isn’t generally used for stories or novels overall, as readers become disengaged by it, and find it patronizing or irritating. That session was good overall.
After that we had lunch. The lunch itself was fine, and I enjoyed getting to talk to my (relatively new) friend. What I found funny was that when I looked around the auditorium where everyone was eating, almost everyone was reading. It was awesome, but rather weird. It was cool to be with many other teens who share the same obsession, I just wasn’t used to it. I come from a school where nobody reads for fun, or if they read, they don’t read as much or with the same passion as I do; in my school, I know of exactly one other person in my class so far who likes writing, the girl who I got to know better at the conference.
Third, I went to a presentation on structuring novels. It wasn’t so much about structuring novels as it was tips about writing, but I still enjoyed it. Some of the points made involved always needing characters to want something, and not using adverbs. Also, he said that obstacles are necessary for writing fiction, and that the climax needs to be inevitable.
Afterwards, I went to a talk on flashbacks. We talked about how something always needs to trigger the memory, and then we wrote our own. Mine was all right, but some of the other teens’ were really good; as the author said, some of us should be teaching the class instead. I learned about when to use flashbacks (as little as possible) and to keep it as seamless as possible. Finally, we went to a quick presentation on steps after the writing conference.
Overall, the conference was awesome. It was my first time actually meeting other writers at length and going to writing classes as a group. By the end of the day, I’d made some new friends who understood my obsession, and learned a lot about writing as well. What I really loved is that they all “got” where I was coming from. I heard many, “In my last novel . . . ,“ or “In the novel I’m writing . . . ,“ and it was fantastic to be part of a community who all wrote and loved it so much- as much as I did. I loved the experience, and would highly recommend it. Oh, did I mention they had food?
Also: I got published in this month’s edition of TeenInk! It’s only for a letter to the editor, which is quite possibly the lamest thing you could get published for, but it’s a start.
This month is October. As you all know, a very special event is coming in just twelve days, and no, it’s not Halloween. That event is NaNoWriMo, and it is going to be awesome. Therefore, I encourage anyone and everyone to do it. I will be writing about NaNoWriMo on my blog, my experience, and my progress as a whole in November. Look forward to a month of writing dangerously!