Saturday, March 10, 2012

Writer's Conferences and Critique Sessions

Soooo... on Friday I'm leaving for my second trip to the Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group "The Write Stuff Conference."  I've avoided conferences until last year because I just find the whole concept too intimidating. The subtitle of any session seems to be "What You Are Doing Wrong." The thought of publishing, while not inducing the fetal ball position any more, still leaves me quaking in my shoes.

Last year I was sick with a virus, had to get up at 4 a.m. on a Saturday in order to be there, and ended up in an unexpected appointment with a very gracious editor who guided me through a pitch for which I was completely unprepared. I could think of nothing to say. Not a word. I literally just stared at her and said, "Um, I am really sorry but I don't know what to say."

Now, I'm not such a doofus as I might seem. A week before the conference, I was informed that agent I was supposed to meet with was unable to attend.  No one else represented fantasy there, so I figured I would just go for the experience and not try to pitch my book. I ended up being shoehorned into an appointment by an overly-helpful staff member. Being high on cold medicine, when she asked me at 10:45 if I could make an 11:00 appointment I said, "Sure" thinking I had an hour to prepare.

Yeah. It was one of those days.

Me and Echelon Press author Jon Gibbs
But Karen Syed, owner of Echelon Press, was truly lovely and helped draw out a few details of my story. She gave me her card and the contact info of one of her acquisitions editors. I have not yet inflicted my book upon that poor editor.

This year I am able to arrive Friday night for the First Page critique session. Seriously, I have rewritten the first page of The Golden Gryphon so many times that only question is which first page to use. I have several well-polished versions. If only the rest of the book was that shiny!

I might even just be bold enough to bring the first page of the book I started last weekend on my writer's retreat.  After five years, something new. Woo-hoo! I don't know if I can stand it.

No fantasy agents at all this year. (shrug) That's okay. I'm feeling less intimidated about the sessions because last year was really great. At least I don't have to worry about pitching. Unless they get all helpful on me again.....

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