On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Writing Conferences

Writing conferences can be encouraging places to meet other writers as well as editors, producers, and agents. They can be wonderfully renewing experiences for writers of many skill levels, ranging from thinking-about-it to multi-published.
Conferences vary in size and quality, so you’ll want to investigate before putting money down to register. Do you want to focus on a specialty area or something more general? How far away can you travel, and for how long can you stay? Check out who are the speakers and faculty, and make sure there are at least a few you’d like to meet.

Conferences are typically comprised of lectures as well as one or more brief individual appointments with the professionals. Normally for the appointment you’ll pitch your story to the agent or editor, and hope that you might be able to spark some interest. Be prepared: before the conference put together a proposal, a synopsis, and the first few sparkling pages of your manuscript just in case the person asks to see something. You also need to rehearse your logline and elevator speech (thirty second summary) so when the person says, “Tell me about your story,” you’ll be able to coherently answer.

Chances are that you’ll also informally meet agents and editors at meal times and other times throughout the conference. It’s difficult, but remember not to be a pest or to be over-eager to push your work on them. You’ll have a position of power if you can step back and be relaxed about meeting people. Chat and ask how they liked their trip. Find out a little about them instead of talking at them incessantly. It is often a tiring experience for the agent or editor to be on display for the few days of the conference, so be kind.

Don’t forget to bring your business cards to pass out as you meet your fellow writers.

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