Although an unexpected snowstorm slowed travel to a crawl, thanks to my daughter, I managed to arrive at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs without missing any sessions.
Despite the fact that all writers conferences are gathering places for writers, every conference has its own flavor. Recent conferences I’ve attended were Sleuthfest, which is geared to mystery writers, and Written in the Stars, which targets romance writers. Pikes Peak Writers focuses on the new and aspiring writer, offering many workshops and panels geared to helping a writer learn to pitch, and to getting feedback on manuscript pages. The organizers make no bones about this being an educational experience: the speakers and panelists are referred to as “Faculty.”
The hotel provided plenty of room for networking.
The first day, at least half of the workshop sessions were either pitch practice or having an agent or editor offer feedback on cold reads of the first page of a manuscript. All genres were represented—everything from poetry to literary, to screenplays. For those who turn to jelly at the thought of presenting their work to an agent or editor, these sessions were invaluable.
There was also an ‘old friends’ feel to the conference, with the meal sessions featuring banter and advice from conference committee members. The big announcement at every session: Drink Water. Colorado Springs is a high-altitude city (over 6000 feet) and those coming from lower elevations are susceptible to altitude sickness. Also, alcohol’s effects are intensified, which many attendees discovered all too quickly.
As a romance/mystery author, I selected workshops geared more to aspects of the craft of writing: Plotting, Pacing, Structure, Romance, and Suspense. I recapped workshops in detail at my own blog, Terry’s Place.
Speakers and keynote presenters included Donald Maas, Jodi Thomas, Kelley Anderson, and Tim Dorsey. All were entertaining, and all were accessible.
Workshops were well-attended.
The book signing was a highlight
Some takeaway tidbits:
To succeed as a writer, you don’t have to compete with the top best-sellers. You have to compete with whoever is at your level. “A successful writer is willing to do what a non-successful writer is not willing to do.” Jodi Thomas
“You want to be a player, not a taker.” Kate Gale, Red Hen Press
“Too many action scenes, and the reader becomes immune.” Kelley Armstrong
“Action does NOT create tension.” Donald Maass.
One of the favorite regular attendees at the conference is Rhu. Attendees buy dog biscuits for her, and the money goes toward the conference scholarship fund.
If you’re looking for a conference with a wide base of appeal, plan on Pikes Peak.
If you’d like to be a Cub Reporter for BHB and report on an event you’ll be attending, just send me an email, email@example.com
Bottom Line: Today is Star Wars Day…I’m all over this and am looking for my Princess Leia outfit.