Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lions and tigers and workshops, oh my! RWA Conference Pt. 3

First off, it's effing HOT out there.  So hot, in fact, that it required capital letters for me to properly emphasize the hotness.  But, it just makes me more thankful that I'm in here, in my air conditioned house with a fan on full-blast.

Now then.  Workshops.  A huge reason why we went to RWA11 in the first place.  Though some were two hours, most of the workshops ran about an hour each with a 15 minute break (or so) in between to get to your next one or use the bathroom (they actually converted some of the men's restrooms to women's using a high-tech sign...a sheet of paper labeled: "Ladies Room").  In each time slot, anywhere from, oh, seven to twelve workshops were going on at one time, more or less.  So there's no way a reasonable person would be able to get to them all and learn anything, or even half of them and learn anything, without having access to a time turner.  Don't know the reference?  Let's just say I have Harry Potter on the brain.  Look it up.
The Time Turner. The only way to see all of your workshops in person.

Workshops were categorized in the following areas: Career, Publishing, Writer's Life/Muse, Craft, Research, Special, Chat, and Spotlight.  Because we were worried about not getting seats, Shelley and I made first and second choices for each time slot, which worked out extremely well.  We also tried our best to take good notes; we sometimes went to the same ones as our interests were/are similar, but sometimes we'd each go to one and make sure we took down a lot of details for the other.  Copy machines are a wonderful invention.  We were also thrilled that the entire conference (minus the workshops that were not recorded, which were very few) will be available on DVD/CD to buy, which was great.  There isn't really a substitute for being present, because being there allowed you to participate and ask questions, but after hearing other attendees chatting about the awesome workshops they'd been to as well, it will be well worth the buy.

I'm not going to go into detail of all the workshops we went to...it would take up waaay too much time.  We attended some about the business of writing...contracts, e-books, and the like, because, as fledgling writers, this wasn't something with which we'd had a lot of experience.  One workshop, which was run by a couple of amazing agents, was particularly fascinating.  Brainstorming was another good one, as it's always a good idea how to work yourself out of writer's block or any tight spot your characters get themselves into.  Two more of my favorites were one on social networking and how to use it to your advantage as both a published and unpublished writer, and a workshop on character's point of view and creating a connection between them and your reader.  The speaker in this one was just so good that I can't wait to listen to that one again!

The Spotlight sessions were also good.  They were informal question and answer sessions about the publishers who were sponsoring the conference, many of which I was interested in.  The three I attended were Samhain, Ellora's Cave, and Pocket.  The latter two, Shelley went with me.  After all, when are you really going to interact with the higher-ups of a publishing company and have them answer the questions you want answers to?  Exactly.  I thought I'd better take advantage, especially because these three are among the 15+ I have on my list to query when the time comes.

That's about it for the workshops!  Next up...everything else.

xoxo Sarah