Pennwriters Conference Review: Part Two

Saturday was an early morning with the annual membership meeting taking place during breakfast. My poor toes were a mess by then, so I decided to revert to my yoga instructor footwear: bare feet. Even when I was called to the podium to talk about next year’s conference, I did it sans shoes. It was funny for a while. But eventually I returned to my room and changed from dress slacks to dressy blue jeans and my trusty sneakers.

I made a point of attending more workshops on Saturday than I had on Friday. Loree Lough presented two that offered a ton of useful information. Writing the Dreaded Synopsis could also be called Organizing Your Thoughts BEFORE You Write Your Novel. But that would take up too much space in the program. Later, she spoke about Perfect Plotting. Her advice to those who write by the seat of the pants? STOP THAT. She gave me some wonderful tools to help clear up my currently muddled outline.

I also attended Victoria Thompson’s workshop on Dialogue.
While I think dialogue is one of my strengths, I still picked up some ideas for making it better. Her bit of advice that I found most helpful? If it isn’t advancing the story or plot, cut it.

The Saturday lunch was one of my favorite moments when my friend, Carol Silvis, won the meritorious service award. She definitely deserved it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her quite that red in the face before. D.L. Wilson offered an entertaining speech on passion in writing and concluded with a little bsp (blatant self promotion, for those not in the industry) and ripped off his suit jacket and shirt to reveal a t-shirt emblazoned with his book title.
Last I saw him, he was still crawling around on the floor trying to find the buttons that went flying.

By the last session, I was exhausted. But I’m glad I attended Irene Goodman’s presentation of Hot Trends in Publishing. Refer to Jane Friedman’s blog as mentioned yesterday to get the full list of what’s in and what’s out. It’s definite food for thought.

The day wrapped up with a masquerade party. And if you’ve been on the Pennwriters Loop, yes, I’ve been spelling it wrong. So sue me. I’ve got it now.

Anyhow, I donned one of my outfits from my days camping with hubby and the Buckskinners. That's me on the left, next to the Scarlet Letter. I thought I might win something for most authentic costume, but Scarlet O’Hara blew me away.

Marilyn “Lisa Kastner” Monroe emceed the evening complete with a rendition of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”

We also had Sherlock Holmes and Bond, James Bond, present.

By Sunday, everyone looked somewhat zombie-like. However, one of my favorite workshops of the weekend was Tim Esaias’s Nailing Down Point of View. I had four…count ‘em…FOUR aha moments. And this is a topic I feel I have a pretty good grasp on.

I did skip the final workshop and spent some time in the hospitality suite talking to a potential new Pennwriter member about his experiences at the conference and the projects he is working on. The weekend ended with the traditional basket raffle. I won one! Yippee!

And thus ended the 2008 Pennwriters Conference. I guess I am now officially “on duty” as 2009 conference coordinator. But I hope to take some time before I kick into high gear with those duties to implement some of the lessons I learned this weekend in my own work in progress.


nancy said…
Great reporting, Annette. And I'm sure I'm not the only one looking forward to next year's conference.
kristine said…
Great job, Annette! I feel like I was there...well, almost. Wish I could have been.

I especially like the pictures.
Bill Peschel said…
Thanks for the report and pix. There were some excellent seminars at this convention, and the sci-fi critique I attended was a pleasant learning experience.

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