I attended the Pennwriter's Conference this past weekend and although it's Tuesday now, I am still brain dead. Talk about information overload. Every session I attended was packed with things I either didn't know, things I should know, or things I knew and forgot.
I had a lot of those "Ah-ha!" moments-those moments when a speaker says something that just clicks. I had several of those in the two sessions taught by Hallie Ephron. One session was on revision and the other was on mystery writing. After the mystery writing class, I was tempted to call my agent and say, "Um, is it too late to fix a few things?" I mentioned this to Hallie and she said that even now she tries not to look at her published books because she'd find things she wanted to change. A couple of other authors told me the same thing.
Vicky Thompson's keynote speech at lunch on Saturday was inspirational. She talked about writing, and her books, and especially about not ever giving up. Vicky will be giving a workshop here in Pittsburgh in October sponsored by our Sisters in Crime group. (Keep checking the website for details.)
Lee Lofland's session called "CS I Don't Think So" was great. He showed writers that they should not rely on TV for crime scene investigative techniques. I think a lot of writers went home and had to fix their manuscripts afterwards. Lee has a book coming out in August from Writer's Digest Books in the Howdunit series, called Police Procedure and Investigation: A Guide for Writers. It sounds like a reference every mystery writer should have on their bookshelf. Lee is a great guy and fit right in with us mystery weirdos. Boy, did he have some stories to tell!
And I was on my very first panel and survived. There were a gazillion of us on a Finding an Agent panel. It shocked me that it was standing room only. I guess everyone wanted to know what magic we possessed that we actually had agents. I hope we convinced them there was no magic involved--just lots and lots of hard work.
Not only was the conference itself great, it was exciting to see friends receive recognition for their hard work. Sandy won an award for a short story, Kristine got an honorable mention for an article and Mike has an agent very interested in his book. A good weekend all around.
Now it's back to work as soon as I get my brain cells functioning again.