Last weekend I went to the Alaska Writers Guild conference.
Here are my thoughts on the aftermath …
Speakers – They seemed to really know their stuff on a wide range of topics. The keynote speakers and author panel were especially interesting.
Attendance – Lots of people attended, which is great! From many different walks of life too, not all of them were writers. Plus a bunch of people I knew from the previous conference showed, so it was nice to catch up with them.
Critiques – 4 out of 5 writers in my group got a full manuscript request, two of which aren’t even completed which is extremely rare and completely exciting! Their agent’s critiques were helpful and hopeful. It says something wonderful about our little writing group.
Events – On the 2nd day’s lunch they grouped us together according to our genre (science fiction, YA, poetry) which was pretty cool. They had a mingling session on Saturday night, and a few workshops on Friday, too.
Speakers – While most of them were good, some of the speeches were off-topic and others dissolved into a Q&A between a select few. Perhaps making sure they stay on track next time would be beneficial (though, you never do know, working with people, what’ll happen).
Attendance – Still a good thing.
Critiques – My critique was… well, let’s just say the agent wasn’t the right one for me. My agent was very nice and said good things about my writing, but then kind-of petered off after 5 minutes. I understand, now, looking back that the agent really couldn’t say much more since he wasn’t repping science fiction, but honestly I was a bit disappointed (read: crushed) about my 15-minute critique. To be fair, he did suggest an agent I could query, which was nice of him. But I expected more comments, what works and what doesn’t. So, to that end, I’m going to suggest next year, perhaps have every agent fill out a sheet of what works, what doesn’t, what needed help, what suggestions they have so everyone gets good comments out of it.
Events – While I thought the grouping idea was brilliant, they needed to have more chairs/tables set up for certain genres (such as sci-fi/fantasy and YA). It might have been fun to go to Friday’s workshops, but they were scheduled at 1-4 (which, for us working people, didn’t fit into our schedules) I’d suggest to move the times around just a little bit so everyone could join.
Overall, it was an experience, and I’m glad I went to it. If anything, hanging out with my Jitters group outside of Jitters was fun. Plus, I got to see a few writers that I hadn’t in two years!
My advice after attending the conference? Go to one. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.
Happy Friday the 13th everyone and have a lovely weekend.