Sunday, April 10, 2011

March: A Month in Review (featuring The Write Stuff)

Yeah, I know, it's already the 10th of April.  Sue me.  I've been quite busy with my new job, running around like crazy, and trying to get back into the revision groove so that I can have my novel ready to query by June.

The big thing for me in March, other than the new job, was attending the Write Stuff Conference, sponsored by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers' Guild, from March 25-26.  The conference was fantastic and amazing, and I had a great time.  I got to meet some amazing people. 

I won The Siren by Kiera Cass as a door prize, and I read it on the bus ride home.  It was fantastic, a very sweet, odd little story about a siren who falls in love with a human, but she literally can't speak to him because her voice will lure him to drown himself in the ocean.  Coincidentally, I also got to meet and speak to Kiera pretty extensively during the conference.  We discovered that we're both "texture eaters" when we both ordered plain burgers and soda with no ice.  Kiera is the author of the upcoming YA novel, The Selection, coming in summer 2012, and I'm really, really looking forward to reading it.  I also met Sara Davison; I just got her book, The Watcher, in the mail, and I'll be reading it later this month.  Got some autographed books from YA author Cyn Balog, which I'll be giving away on CC2K soon.

The best part was meeting so many writers in all stages of their careers.  A few years ago, that would have really intimidated me, would have given me a bit of a complex about my lack of accomplishment, but now, it was more like, "Well, obviously someone is getting published, so why not me?"  I think I have more faith in my writing and my abilities than I did the last time I went to the conference (in 2007).  I look back on where I was in my writing in 2007, and where I am now, and the difference is night and day.  Not only am I writing more, and more consistently, but I also believe in myself a lot more.

I still have some stuff to work on.  I still don't do particularly well in crowds, still have trouble introducing myself to people I don't know.  I was still intimidated by the prospect of approaching editors and agents and trying to "sell" myself.  I have trouble pitching my story.  How do I explain it in 50 words or less?  Instead of focusing on all the cool stuff, I end up going, "Uh, uh, it's about demons, and, uh, stuff?"  Yeah, real impressive.

Agent Donald Maass was our keynote speaker, talking about the direction of fiction in the 21st century.  One of his arguments was that genre lines are disappearing, that no longer will fiction stick to the strict boundaries of genre.  Instead, fiction readers of the future will be more concerned with getting a great story with great writing, mixing the elements of literary and commercial fiction (great writing, exciting plot).  Genres will mix and weave and blend.  And we're already seeing this: paranormal romance, urban fantasy, romantic suspense, etc., all have elements of genre mixing.  (Shortly after I came back, as if just to confirm this, I read a paranormal steampunk western romance--Wilder's Mate by Moira Rogers, to be specific.)

And that, my friends, was March.

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