Guest Post

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Learning the craft

cj Sez:  I’ve attended sooo many conferences in my writing lifetime and have learned that there is always more to learn about the craft. The weekend of July 15 I joined a diverse group of authors and poets in Birmingham, AL, for the 2016 Alabama Writers Conclave conference.

From Facebook

The AWC is a small conference in comparison to a Killer Nashville or Bouchercon, but it is chock full of information in workshops conducted by a really knowledgeable faculty. I attended presentations on building a website, the important beginnings and endings, and demystifying mystery (the demystifying presenter was the fabulous and multi-award winning fellow SinC /Guppy Kaye George, who writes three best-selling mystery series).

They offered poetry workshops with titles such as:  “Writing Historical Persona Poetry,” “Exploring imagery and Language in Poetry” (also useful for prose authors), and “Poets Without Borders.”

Barbara Kyle, who had a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage, AND is the author of seven internationally published historical novels, led a master’s class on “Secrets to Creating Powerful Scenes,” and spoke of “The Actor Inside the Writer” in her keynote address.

The AWC is a conference, run by a small group of dedicated volunteers (Thank you T.K. Thorne, Debra Goldstein, and all the others). I attend often, not only because of its proximity to my home, but also because of the variety and quality of the information it shares. . . . and I can afford it.

A few years ago, I decided to limit my conferences to those that I can drive to in less than a day, and the 2016 Alabama Writers Conclave is one of those. This year’s Bouchercon in New Orleans is the other that I will attend. That’s not to say I’m not continuing my writerly education. I invest time in critique partners, writers’ organizations, workshops, and online classes…especially those that are endorsed by Sisters-in-Crime and Guppies.

Practice makes perfect is an adage that definitely applies to writers. The nature of the craft requires that writers work alone, but we can’t work in a vacuum. We need the input and critique of others in order to improve our skills. I’ve told you what I do to improve…what is that you do?

Okay, you-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

I’m traveling again this weekend and may not get back in time to put up a guest post on Wednesday, but please stop by anyway . . . just in case.

cj
cjpetterson@gmail.com
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1 comment:

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