Heidi Joy Tretheway taught one of the first Night School classes about writing the perfect steamy scene, (because after a day of classes, just what our attendees wanted were apparently…more classes) and our Up and Coming Award winner, Fonda Lee, wowed her audience with how to knock ‘em out with your action scenes.
Basically, there was something for everyone to learn. And that’s not even covering half of it.Editors and agents were everywhere giving advice and insight, from our Pitch for the Prize event on Thursday night to our popular Networking Lunch on Sunday, where attendees got to sit down with our consults, buyers, best-selling authors, and faculty to talk writing and the business of writing. Some of those editors even participated in our new and popular Editors’ First Page workshop, presented a la “The Gong Song” (yes, complete with gong) and although there was lots of fun and laughter, it was amazingly helpful and provided good feedback. And all anonymous… Except for the poor editors, of course.
Because there was such wide range of editors, agents and film producers and managers joined us this year, with many of them accepting cross-over pitches, there were new pitching opportunities available. Which meant you could write regular ol’ prose, poetry, screenplays, magazine articles, even advertisements, and they still wanted to hear from you. Just so long as you had a good story to tell.As for the events, we had a Welcome Reception on Friday night, as well as a conversation with Brian Doyle in the Timberline Review room. Saturday night was non-stop action, with the Timberline Review Launch party, our Winners Reception and Panel with Tom Robbins, FiLMLaB screening of “The Return of Bug Eyed Bill,” and the 50th Anniversary Gala. The Open Mic on Saturday night was a new event that was extremely popular. Our winner received a prize, and the other categories all received a loud round of applause for their contributions. I think we all regret that a wedding was happening next door in the Pacific NW Ballroom, but everyone dealt with it graciously and spoke loudly and clearly into the microphone.
Just another struggle writers have to overcome: Loud wedding reception hip-hop music.
Sunday has traditionally been a lower-key day, but not this year. This year we had the added bonus of having NaNoWriMo experts on hand to help parents, young writers, and pretty much everyone with their goals for writing their 50,000 words this November. I’ve heard of more than one NaNoWriMo novel getting published, so I can’t wait to hear more from our members and attendees this November about how much they’ve accomplished.And then there were the workshops by Eric Witchey, William Hertling, Rosanne Parry, Anne Osterlund, Larry Brooks and so many other wonderful instructors.
Congratulations and thank you to everyone on a great conference! I hope that you all had a wonderful and lucrative time, learned a lot, and met some new friends and useful connections. I look forward to hearing the success stories and getting feedback.
Photo credit: All photos courtesy of photographer Audrey Rose Goldfarb. You can see more of Audrey’s Willamette Writers Conference images at: audreality.wordpress.com.