Lessons Learned At A Writers' Convention

Friday Night Mixer ArmadilloCon34
What does an armadillo have to do with writing?  Well that depends on who you ask.  Any good writer can find some way to relate the armadillo to the act of writing.  For example, the tough outer shell represents the writer's ability to keep producing and submitting their work in the face of rejection after rejection.

I attended ArmadilloCon 34 in Austin, Texas last month.  This small SciFi/Fan/Horror convention offered a writing workshop on the first day, and for the price of $75, I could attend the workshop, have my work critiqued by several members of the writing faculty, and attend the following two days of the convention.  Since most writers' conferences cost over $500, this was a fantastic deal.  Add to that the SciFi/Fan focus, and I couldn't wait.

The 20+ members of the workshop faculty spent the first hour providing advice and answering questions.  From this, I gathered several good quotes.  Many of the faculty's name tags flipped backwards or the writer chose not to wear them, so I did my best to obtain names over the weekend. For those I can't identify, if anyone reading this does know the speaker, please let me know, and I'll rectify the situation.

The first piece of advice came from everyone:
Don't quit your day job.

Another universal statement:
Learn the rules before you break them.

The published writers who do break the rules understand the rule and can provide a good reason for breaking it.

"Writing a story is a lot like building a house from the inside out in the dark.  Why is there a toilet in your kitchen?  I didn't know I had one.  Well, there it is."  Unknown  (Note:  This is my favorite quote, but no one could tell me the name of the young man who said it.  I never saw him the rest of the weekend.)

After a lengthy explanation of how we can write create a fly in our writing as long as the fly still has the essential body elements:  "The fly must still pull the fish."  Matthew Bey

"Dare to suck."  Stina Leicht , 2012 Campbell Award Nominee

"Research is like an iceberg.  You're reader is only going to see the part above the water."  Unknown

"They're going to be punching your baby."  Melissa Tyler regarding feedback on your writing.

And to top it all off, when you finally do get published and have a book signing:
"People walk by like the opposite of a car crash."  A. Lee Martinez

This represents a small portion of the great advice I heard over the weekend.  Hope you found it entertaining and interesting.

In a few weeks, I hope to publish an interview with the con's guest artist, Julie Dillon .  Her work drew me and engulfed me in peaceful colors.


Valerie Norris said…
LOVE the "opposite of a car crash" quote! Perfect!
Michael Di Gesu said…
Sounds like you got some great advice.

Thanks for sharing.
Valerie, I laughed so hard when Lee made his book signing comparison. Priceless!

Michael, after looking over my notes, I can't believe how much information I gained from this small convention.
My favorite is "dare to suck". It says it all.

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