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.

The 2011 Philadelphia Flower Show: Springtime in Paris

Flowers at Longwood Gardens
Flowers at Longwood Gardens

This year’s Philadelphia Flower Show opens on Sunday, March 6th and runs until Sunday, March 13th. This year’s theme is Springtime in Paris.

I managed to find a website with a list of flower names in French and English. It’s extensive, and I noticed a few typos, but it seems like a good place to start. The French Wiktionary also has a handful of fleurs en anglais, but it’s a rather short list.

In my hunting on the internet, I also learned about a book called The Common Names of Wildflowers in English and French. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be in print anymore.

The Daily Bread (and Other Matters)

There are two chain restaurants opening on Walnut Street, both within a block of my office. One is Le Pain Quotidien (the daily bread, in French) and the other is Chipotle. I’ve eaten at other Chipotles, and they’re decent enough. Le Pain Quotidien is apparently a Belgian chain. I’m intrigued by the menu, and curious about whether they’ll have a decent sized space for meet-ups.

Speaking of meet-ups, the French Conversation Group had one tonight. Attendance was… well, we could have used a few more people, but I’m always glad to have a chance to practice.