Goal, Motivation, and Conflict in Pittsburgh
This past Saturday, I brought Debra Dixon to Pittsburgh for a day-long Pennwriters workshop at the airport Crowne Plaza Hotel. Debra authored one of the writing books that I consider required reading. GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict is one of the few books I will not loan out. I can’t be parted from it that long. If a scene or a chapter in my WIP isn’t going well, I know that I need a refresher course.
The workshop was a smashing success if the response I’ve been hearing is any indication. It’s always nice to hear positive feedback after spending a year organizing an event like this.
I recently composed a short article for a Chapter Guidelines booklet for Sisters in Crime about how to put on a workshop. With my experience coordinating the 2009 Pennwriters Conference as well as working on the committees for the three previous conferences and our local SinC chapter writers’ retreat (also known as the Great Flood and Writers’ Retreat), I guess I qualify to write such a piece. (I’m not even going to mention the yoga workshops and quilt shows I’ve had a hand in.)
But this weekend’s workshop reminded me that a lot of what makes an event “click” depends on folks other than the organizer. For example, Susan Silinski from the hotel was wonderful to work with. I told her what I needed, and she made it happen. The hotel staff was equally accommodating, taking care of a last minute request for coffee service and small issues with the room temperature.
The star of the show was Debra herself. Not only did she educate our attendees, she entertained them as well. Everyone went away inspired to get back to their works in progress with a new understanding of how to make them stronger.
The true highlight of the day for me came later when I had dinner with Debra. We chatted for hours about everything from quilting to the future of publishing to ornery kittens! This is the kind of perk that makes all the time and effort well worth it.