Philadelphia Writers’ Conference 2011

Last weekend, I went to the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. As I said in an earlier post, I’m really glad I went. I signed up for the novel plot (with Gregory Frost) and novel character (with Kelly Simmons) sessions, and they played off of each other really well. I’ve read that character and plot are too intricately interwoven to be considered separately, and that was made very obvious by both these sessions. Both of those sessions met for one hour each day.

I also really loved the session on writing for new media (i.e. the web) by Ian Markiewicz. He spoke a lot about writing webisodes for series and about augmented reality games. It sounds like it could be a lot of fun to do, and it’s also somewhat relevant for work. Unfortunately, that was only a single hour-long session.

I also realized a lot about myself as a writer and my experience so far, such as:

  • Working in marketing has taught me a lot about useful things like search engine optimization, twitter, marketing yourself, etc.
  • My relatively new habit of following writer blogs has also kept me informed about the happenings in the writing industry, so i have a good understanding of the pros and cons of new(ish) things like ebooks and self publishing.
  • I need to do lots of work on my book—but i knew that going in—and the specific things that occurred to me at the conference will only improve the book.
  • I’m driven more by achievement than closure—something Kelly Simmons talked about. I don’t just want to publish a book (which you can do easily now). I want it to be good, and i want other people to think it’s good.
  • I need to stop going to writers block related things. I have many issues, but writers block is not presently one of them.

Also of note, at least to me, was a discussion on the last day of the YA session about Scrivener and YWriter. I happen to use Scrivener and have come to really like it. I think it’s made organizing my novel much easier, and it’s probably going to help me do the rewriting more easily as well. YWriter is apparently a similar program that is free (as opposed to Scrivener). I personally have no intention of switching, but for those of you looking for writing software, I thought I’d mention them.

Finally, if you’re looking for some other people’s impressions of the conference (or just ones that involve less naval gazing), check out:

Strangely, I didn’t meet either of them at the conference, although I did see Ms. Galanti there.

This has turned into a rather link heavy post. I’m not sure the SEO person I know would approve.

Book Review: Plot and Structure

Plot & Structure - Write Great FictionPlot & Structure – Write Great Fiction by James Scott Bell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book to be really useful. I probably won’t add it to my permanent reference collection, but I’m really glad I checked it out of the library. I picked up some useful tidbits, and I got a much better understanding of three act structure, which I kept hearing about from other writers.

I also really like that Bell acknowledges that there are different ways of going about plotting. He usually presents alternative ways of doing something and doesn’t present any of them as the one true way.

Book Source: Free Library of Philadelphia