Writing Conference Overview

This year's Critical and Creative Writing Conference has come and gone. I read both days: two short stories on Thursday and one this morning. My first story got quite a bit of reaction, more than I had expected. It seems everyone could relate in some way with my protagonist. And almost everyone in the room told me how.

The second story I read got absolutely no responses. Not a single word. I'm going to blame it on genre-shock. From what I understand, it was the only genre piece to make it into the conference. Certainly it was the only one that mentioned dragons and elves. :-)

My final story got a few generalized compliments. The usual "I really liked it" or "it was really good". Hey, at least no one threw rotten vegetables.

I missed most of the Keynote speaker on Thursday. Luckily, he had made a guest appearance in my creative writing class last semester, so I didn't feel too cheated. I more or less knew what he was going to say. He seems like a very nice guy but I have a feeling we see writing from two very different perspectives. I'm more genre, and he's more literary. I left while he was talking about how he's been contemplating on the need to have a message, to make the writing mean something more than just mindless entertainment.

Me? I'm all for mindless entertainment. I have no problem writing what I most enjoy reading.

And therein is what I perceive to be the source of our opposing viewpoints. I bet he reads a lot of "literature".

Today's Keynote speaker was very interesting. She teaches at our mother campus, has had several books published, and is actually expecting one of her bestsellers to be released as a movie sometime next year. She talked about "What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger" in relation to the art of writing novels. Interestingly enough, she provided many examples of writers who had died because of their association with the craft of writing. Some of the examples reached a bit, but all of them were somewhat humorous.

Of course, the main message of her talk was basically that writers write. Oh, she didn't use those words, but she could have. It certainly would have fit.

She also answered a few questions about her personal writing practices, the adaptation of her book onto the big screen, and general writing questions. By far her presentation was my favorite part of the conference.

Now all I have to do is wait for the publication to come out so I can tuck it away in my hope chest with last year's. Maybe someday, when I'm dead and gone, my children will find those stories and get a glimpse into the bizarre mind of their mother.