This past weekend, my local writing group had a writing conference. It was full of the things all awesome conferences share, chances to pitch your book, Q&A with industry professionals and workshops - 12 brilliant hands on workshops.
Since I was one of the conference coordinators (as well as the person who found the speakers and put together the schedule) I was able to choose the workshops I wanted to moderate (a coordinator's job is never done). We had a whole morning and afternoon of fabulous speakers, and the four that I moderated were nothing short of brilliant.
There was a hilarious and also incredibly informative presentation on Time Management for People with No Time. Jen provided all kinds of useful tips and tricks to get more writing into to your day - even if you have a million and twelve other things to do.
I also enjoyed the workshop on plotting using Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey given by Brynn Paulin. Using popular movies, she broke The Hero's Journey down in a slightly different way than I've seen before that effectively explained the concept and made it easy to work with using our own plots.
Lara Zielin gave a fantastic interactive lecture on The First Five Pages and how to make them unforgettable (in a good way) I wish there had been more time to go through the opening pages that the attending writers brought. But the ones we did get through were helpful no only to the authors, but the rest of us as well.
Margaret Yang's talk on Plotting for Pantzers was exactly what I needed. I'll admit, I'm not a plotter - more like a wanderer following a trail of breadcrumbs. I tend to stop along the way and pick up rocks and pretty leaves - sometimes they're useful for the story I'm telling, sometimes they're not. Because of my wandering, I tend toward side trips in my writing that need to be heavily edited. Thanks to Margaret's workshop, I had several "light bulb moments". I feel like my side trips are going to be far less problematic.
Now I'm not saying that I've suddenly turned into someone who plots my book chapter by chapter, but I think I'm definitely becoming a wanderer with a purpose. And a path. I couldn't be more grateful to Margaret for her workshop.
For those of you who've never been to a writers conference, I highly recommend going. Sometimes the smallest thing can change your perspective and give you a whole new view of your story.
What about you - have you ever been to a writers workshop? If so, what workshop had the biggest impact on you?