Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day Two and Three of WriteOnCon

Okay, to make up for yesterday's lack of a Day Two review of WriteOnCon, I'll fold it into today's review of Day Three to make it an uber-post.

First of all, major kudos to the convention's founders/administrators/organizers - Jamie Harrington, Elana Johnson, Casey McCormick, Shannon Messenger, Jennifer Stayrook, and Lisa and Laura Roecker - for getting such a huge number of writers, agents and editors to take part in the first online convention for writers I've ever heard of. Blog posts, vlog posts, and live chats (both text and video) were presented in rapid fire and so smoothly to the eager writer aspirants in attendance. You ladies made it all look so easy!

Now to the meat of it. As a writer of YA (AKA young adult) fiction, it's always a good idea to know more about your community in the publishing world. WriteOnCon gives you the red carpet treatment as it welcomes you in, hands you your beverage of choice, and proceeds to roll out advice, tips and secrets of the kidlit world all from the comfort of your own softly humming computer. As much fun as it can be to go to a convention center and interact with people, getting caught in the press of the unwashed masses is something you'll never have to contend with here, nor will you have to leave one room to find another panel you want to sit in on at a different room. It's the ultimate in convenience - the convention quite literally comes to you at the click of a mouse button!

And what a convention! So much information is imparted from so many different sources in so many different ways, I'm still catching up on some of the posts from Day Two. Fortunately, the convention isn't going anywhere, even when it's over. For those of us who had to work throughout the bulk of the convention, all the information posted over the past three days will remain online for easy reference. As for the live segments, transcripts will be made available on the web site and video chats will be uploaded to YouTube. It sure beats having to scribble down notes in an overly air-conditioned hotel room, that's for sure.

I can't even begin to tell you how helpful the information imparted through this convention has been to me. There are questions I didn't even know I had that got answered, in addition to my own curious musings. I have to admit, I'm looking forward to seeing my name pop up in the transcripts as my questions were posed to the professionals. (Even got a few of my humorous comments past the moderators and into public view - score!)

What were my favorite topics? I'm so glad you asked! Er, you didn't? But you were thinking it, right? Right? Right. Anyway...

Day Two was a racy day at the con, what with such topics like "Romance in YA," "Sex in YA: The ABC’s of Hooking Up," and "Authentic/Edgy YA" spread throughout the day. In addition, I gravitated instinctively toward the "Writing Genre Fiction," "Creating Memorable Characters," and the live chat where the topic was voice - both author's voice and character voice. For the record, though it's not written exactly as I posted it, the final question of that panel was one that I'd put through at the last minute, and got some good responses and a couple of books named as examples of my particular character voice question.

Day Three attempted to cover everything else that hadn't been said, and I'm still poking through a lot of it. The first topic I read about the moment I got to the site today was "Creating New Mythologies," not surprisingly. Beyond that, I was drawn into such topics as "Writing a Complete Story as Part of a Trilogy," "Writing Realistic, Captivating Dialog," and "The First Five Pages," which gave a sobering peek into how those first few pages of your manuscript will either net you an agent's request for more or a solid pass. The convention wrapped with the final chats, and I snuck in some comments and questions there, too. You'll just have to wait for the transcripts to see what made it and what didn't.

Now that it's over, I have the time to go back and read over every topic and revisit the ones that impacted me and my writing the most. As much research as I've done over the years on writing and publishing, you never really stop learning, and these three days presented me with a lot more ammunition to bring to bear as I get my trilogy up and running. I feel like I'm part of a grand community of writers going through a similar journey with their own manuscripts. More importantly, I feel like a successful writer for having made it this far. I may not be published yet, but I'm farther along than I've ever been, and I call that a win.

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