I have returned from Muncie, Indiana and the Midwest Writers Workshop.
My notebook, holding all the info you could want from class schedule, to notes from some of the sessions, to short bios of all the faculty, and maps of the place.
This year it was held in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.
The building offered plenty of room for all the sessions and to relax and hang out with all the writers. There were lots of writers.
LOTS OF FABULOUS AWESOME WRITERS! I saw friends I had met before, came face to face with friends from the Internet I hadn’t met, and made connections with new people. I attended great sessions to help me improve my craft and listened as panels of agents, editors, and authors share their knowledge.
If you have never been to a writers conference, I highly recommend them. The first couple, you might not feel at ease, you might do a lot of sitting and watching instead of interacting. I did. This was my third time at MWW and I feel pretty happy there. Faces have become familiar, and people actually remember me. I know! I am constantly amazed by that.
Let me share. And I will link you to the Twitter accounts of some of the wonderful people I met and know. So you can follow them!
Kelsey Timmerman gave an inspiring opening speech on how we can use our writing to give voices to those who can’t tell their own tale. Through The Facing Project, writers are paired with people to learn what life is like for them and share it with the world through words.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting a (Book) Baby with Karma Brown…
With the release of my book lurking in the sometime future, I wanted to hear a few words of wisdom. The debut year is crazy. Marketing. Keeping on track with writing and not getting carried away in the insanity. Look for new ways to connect with readers. There’s so much. Must. Prepare. Now.
The Agent/Author Relationship panel…
Julie Murphy (Dumplin) and Natalie Parker (Beware the Wild) with their agent Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management
Amy Reichert (The Coincidence of Coconut Cake) with her agent Rachel Ekstrom of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency
Summer Heacock (next year debut of A Perfect Fit) with her agent team of Uwe Stender and Brent Taylor of Triada US Literary Agency
I don’t have an agent. I have no plans, right now, of querying them, but it’s always good to hear how they relate, of how they came together.
Voice/Dialogue with Julie Murphy and Natalie Parker…
They spoke of the differences between author voice vs. story voice, of finding the best POV for your character, of choosing the perfect words for your characters to give them a unique, memorable, and interesting voice. And dialogue, so important! How simple spoken words can mean so much and how it’s not just what they say but how they say it. I like these two so much, I went bought their books at the book store.
Friday night there was bowling and pizza and a photo booth…while I did not bowl, I did enjoy pizza and had a great time with friends in the photo booth.
I haven’t laughed so hard! So ends Friday…
Buttonhole the Experts… the strangest sounding, but becoming one of my favorite things.
I’m sorry…Buttonwhat? Right?
They had 33 tables occupied with a faculty member, each with a sigh designating their topic for discussion. So many topics! You sit at a table with five others and ask questions based on their declared subject. After 20 minutes, a bell sounds and you find another table. Kinda stressful, but it always works.
I talked to Sarah J. Schmitt (It’s a Wonderful Death) about library and school visits, because I am interested in getting into that.
Agent Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management answered questions about the YA market. If I ever get a horror YA or MG written, he might just get it.
Natalie Parker spoke about to compete with your author friends and keep them as friends. She was even cooler talking to her this time. She liked my mermaid hair…
Panel: Critique Partners: Where to Find Them and How to Use Them with Amy Reichert, Jen Malone (Wanderlost), Dee Romito (The BFF Bucket List), and Summer Heacock
I have critique partners (actually I gained another while I was there!) so maybe the info was stuff I already knew, but these ladies are really fun to listen to.
Marketing Your Book Outside the Box with Jen Malone
With the fact that I will be published comes the fact that I will need to market, so any info here helps! Form connections. Focus on a couple things and not everything, and how to choose which events to choose. Find some unexpected way to get the word out about your book.
How to Edit a Bestseller with Liz Pelletier of Entangled Publishing
OMG…she packed so much info in that hour, people were taking pics of the power point presentation because there wasn’t enough time to write it all down. I’m not going to even try here.
Word by Word: What Your First Line Says About Your Book with Julie Murphy and Natalie Parker
(Yup. I got a little obsessed with these two. I hope they didn’t find my stalking creepy.) First lines are important, so much can be conveyed with a sentence of three carefully chosen words. World building. Character development. All in one line. People offered their first lines and we dissected them…well, not me. I am not brave.
The conference ended with a banquet and the keynote speaker Julie Murphy who spoke of finding herself mirrored in fiction and how happy that made her. That while the world has lost its mind, how people have forgotten how to be people, that we should be better and do better. That maybe our words will find that reader who will relate and smile because of it. She was spectacular. I will happily stalk her.
There were sessions on writing middle grade, taxes, NaNoWriMo, writing contemporary, writing inspiration, setting up speaking engagements, Scrivener, crime writing, and so much more.
Now I’m home, my brain spinning with all the ideas I gathered from the conference. I am prepared to rock the wording!
Rena (The Girl Before…READ IT! IT COMES OUT AUGUST 9!)
Thanks for sharing some laughs with me and being awesome conference buddies.
Meeting you in person was a highlight. Can’t wait to watch you as you find your place in this world. It will be spectacular.
As always…so great to spend time with you! You always make me smile.
Julie Murphy and Natalie Parker
Karma Brown, for coming up to me and saying…”Kathy, you’re Kathy Palm! I know you on Twitter.” Dude. I nearly fell out of my chair.
Jama Kehoe Bigger and the Midwest Writers
Thanks for all you do to bring all us crazy people together.
Until next year!