Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Little Help From Your Friends

I just got back from the New Jersey Romance Writers annual conference, Put Your Heart in a Book. As usual, it was a ton of fun. There were wonderful workshops, great conversations about writing and lots of laughter. My friend, Sarah White, and I presented our workshop on flawed heroes again. It went well, despite our spate of nerves when Sharon Sala, keynote speaker for the conference, sat in on it.

Giving a workshop has been a real learning experience for me. As the saying goes: I know what I know. Putting it into a coherent format and imparting it to others is the toughest. But when I see heads nodding and maybe an “aha” expression on someone’s face, it’s the greatest feeling. Better still is the question and answer session at the end where we get to help people figure out some of the “hard parts” to their stories. Because everyone needs help with the hard parts. Conferences are a great place to get that help, whether it’s via a workshop or a conversation with a new friend about your latest work-in-progress.

Oh, and I have to give a shout-out to my fellow Maryland Romance Writers. Of the five chapter-mates that I knew attending the conference, two had finalled in the Put Your Heart in a Book contest, and two had finalled in the Gold Leaf contest. Better still, Christie Kelley won the Gold Leaf for her historical romance, Something Scandalous, and Marta Bliese won Put Your Heart in a Book for her unpub’d paranormal, Hangman. Yea!


Victoria Chancellor said...

Lisa, I agree that conferences, especially local and regional ones, are such a great experience. Not only do the attendees learn so much from the workshops, but the networking is invaluable. Without conferences, I'm sure I wouldn't have sold as fast as I did when I first started writing way back when! I'm glad your workshop went well. Sounds like a great topic.

Lisa Ruff said...

I'm a big fan of conferences, especially local ones. They really help give us solitary writers a sense that we're not alone, even though we are most of the time, lol. Besides all the amazing things I've learned, I also met one of my critique partners at a conference. And too many friends to count!

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Lisa, you workshop with Sarah was fantastic. I really enjoyed it.

And thanks for the shout out!

Pamela Stone said...

Hi Lisa. Small conferences are wonderful and like Vicki, I know they helped me get my manuscript in shape and sold. But like you, I know what I know, but getting into coherent format is not so easy.