Another incredible day is done at the Surrey International Writers Conference and my primary thought all day has been…why did I wait so long to do this?
This is a rhetorical question. My self-confidence kept me from going. Or – more specifically – my lack of self-confidence. I thought I needed to have finished my book before I could attend this conference. How silly of me. When I think of all the lost learning opportunities. Sigh.
Today was full of learning. About my craft and about the people that are part of it.
Let’s start with the learning parts. The opening keynote was delivered by agent DonWong Song and it was a great reminder about staying positive and focused on our goals. The next time someone tells me to “not quit my day job” I will smile knowingly as I nod.
“Ambition is the inciting incident of your writing career.” Love this idea from @dongwon at #SiWC17 Keynote. pic.twitter.com/gHIGM79UKo
— Kelly Duran 📚 ☕️ (@ByKellyDuran) October 21, 2017
Then it was off for the morning sessions. First up was learning all about Self Publishing from Meg Tilly and kc dyer.
While I wish they had stayed a little bit more focused on the topic – I did get a few nuggets of helpful info. And they were both so personable and fun to chat with. A common theme amongst the SiWC presenters.
Next up was a great presentation from Juliet Blackwell on how to fix The Sagging Middle. Of my book that is. I got a lot of great tips from this presentation on how to fix a few of the problem plot areas in my novel.
At lunch, I reconnected with two incredible women. Two women who I didn’t know before Friday but I know will be part of my life moving forward. And I am so grateful for SiWC for being the catalyst that brought us together.
Just after lunch, I had my first blue pencil session with author Robyn Harding. I just finished her latest work – The Party – and loved it. I also love that she is a mom from Vancouver like me. Seeing her success has been so inspiring to me. But I was also pretty nervous about what to expect from my session.
I decided to bring my prologue for Robyn to read and review. I don’t think they are my best pages or the best representative of my writing. But they are the most important pages to me now – especially with 2 requests from agents to read my pages. I want my first few to be as tight and polished as possible.
Robyn is lovely. We chatted, she put me at immediate ease and I gave her an overview of my book. Then she read my pages. I don’t know exactly what I expected…but what I wasn’t expecting was for her to underline two words and that’s it. No major revision suggestions. Great thoughts on how to clean up a few areas which were helpful.
To hear this successful author say my writing was “strong and really kept her interest” and she “really wanted to know what happened next.” was just a wonderful ego boost.
I came off that high into another pitch session. After a shaky pitch the day before I was pretty nervous but knew I had to keep trying. Danielle told me straight up what I already knew. That once again my pitch was weak.
And then she spent the next 20 minutes – her next appointment never showed up (thank you!) – explaining exactly why it was weak. And giving me suggestions on how to make it better. She made me see how the focus of my pitch could be improved. And then she went even further to talk to me about my future. She told me to focus on what I wanted and to push for my dreams.
Oh…and she also asked for a synopsis and my first 3 chapters. So that was pretty awesome.
I came out of that meeting feeling so very inspired and that I was truly in the place I was meant to be. I rounded out the day with a workshop led by Robyn Harding on how screenwriting can help with novel writing.
While I don’t really have any aspirations to write screenplays I was curious to see how the two mediums were complimentary. And there are many areas…
Day 2 wrapped up with a glass of wine with my friends in the bar before getting a few books signed.
Liza Palmer and Eliza Gordon were both funny and easy to chat to. I can’t wait to dive into their newest works. Think I may need to fast track them to the top of my TBR pile.
And with that Day 2 was a wrap. I drove home with a stupid grin on my face. And I’m still smiling as I write this.
Final day tomorrow. Bring it.
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