Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm No Longer A Virgin

You see, I went to this writer's conference. It was my first time, and it didn't hurt a bit.

Two weeks ago I made the hour's drive to Ajax, Ontario for the Ontario Writers Association Conference, a one-day extravaganza of workshops, panels, food and friendship.

I hesitated to part with my New York City savings to attend this conference, but Kevin, a fellow Absolute Write member and one of the organizers of the conference, convinced me to attend. I signed up for three workshops and had a 'blue pencil' session with an established author.

The workshops taught me things like how to wring a plot out of random ideas, and how to develop a character. I learned that popular fiction is nothing to turn your nose up at, and that memoirs can be freakin' hilarious.

Along with Kevin, I met two more AW members, and made a few new friends. While in line for dinner, I chatted with a dynamic looking woman about Buffalo. She said, "My first book is about Buffalo."

I discovered later she was the author of Too Close To The Falls, a humorous memoir about growing up in the 50's in Lewiston, NY. She spoke at dinner, cracking us up with tales about her precocious childhood with a non-domestic mother and a pharmacist father. Her delivery reminded me of Jean Shepard's dry wit. I bought her book and while she autographed it, we talked about childhood memories and how time can mold them into something different from facts.

My Blue Pencil Session was with Martin Avery, a multi-published author and writing teacher. He seemed positive about the opening pages of my manuscript, so I think I'm on the right track.

After dinner, there was a publishing panel, taking questions. We had a lively discussion with best selling authors, an agent and editor, covering everything from submissions to poetry to Book Espresso machines. I didn't have a chance to meet personally with the agent on board, but later sent her a query and she asked for the full manuscript.

Several authors gave readings, and one gentleman mesmerized us with his rhythmic poetry. I met a hockey writer who asked me to send her a copy of Bad Ice.

I had a great time, came away with some nice books and a cool pen. I had a pleasant drive home and was only slightly tired from a sixteen-hour day. I highly recommend this conference, and I have a feeling it will grow in the years to come.

Pictured above: Caroline Wissing, Me, Kevin Craig and Danielle Gaudet Boldt. Photo courtesy of Kevin Craig.