Saturday, 8 May 2010

I'm No Longer a Virgin

You see, I went to this writer's conference. It was my first time, and it didn't hurt a bit.

Last weekend, I made the hour's drive to Ajax, Ontario for the Ontario Writers Association Conference, a one-day extravaganza of workshops, panels, food and friendship.

I hesitated to part with my New York City savings to attend this conference, but Kevin, a fellow Absolute Write member and one of the organizers of the conference, convinced me to attend. I signed up for three workshops and had a 'blue pencil' session with an established author.

The workshops taught me things like how to wring a plot out of random ideas, and how to develop a character. I learned that popular fiction is nothing to turn your nose up at, and that memoirs can be freakin' hilarious.

Along with Kevin, I met two more AW members, and made a few new friends. While in line for dinner, I chatted with a dynamic looking woman about Buffalo. She said, "My first book is about Buffalo."

I discovered later she was the author of Too Close To The Falls, a humorous memoir about growing up in the 50's in Lewiston, NY. She spoke at dinner, cracking us up with tales about her precocious childhood with a non-domestic mother and a pharmacist father. Her delivery reminded me of Jean Shepard's dry wit. I bought her book and while she autographed it, we talked about childhood memories and how time can mold them into something different from facts.

My Blue Pencil Session was with Martin Avery, a multi-published author and writing teacher. He seemed positive about the opening pages of my manuscript, so I think I'm on the right track.

After dinner, there was a publishing panel, taking questions. We had a lively discussion with best selling authors, an agent and editor, covering everything from submissions to poetry to Book Espresso machines.

Later, several authors gave readings, and one gentleman mesmerized us with his rhythmic poetry. I met a hockey writer who asked me to send her a copy of Bad Ice.

I had a great time, came away with some nice books and a cool pen. I had a pleasant drive home and was only slightly tired from a sixteen-hour day. I highly recommend this conference, and I have a feeling it will grow in the years to come.

Pictured above: Caroline Wissing, Me, Kevin Craig and Danielle Gaudet Boldt. Photo courtesy of Kevin Craig.


Travis Erwin said...

Conferences always re-energize me as a writer. I haven't been able to attend one in several years but I'm making plans to hit one in Denver this September.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Hi, Travis! Someday I'll make enough book money to attend one of the larger conferences. I'd love to meet many of the wonderful online friends I've made over the last few years.

India Drummond said...

Sounds like you had a great time. Well done, you! I always find the idea of meeting up with a bunch of strangers a bit nerve-wracking!

Sherry said...

Hi Sandra,

So glad to hear you enjoyed the conference! I recognize you from the Chick Lit workshop in the afternoon.

Thanks for your positive comments about the conference - that makes it all worthwhile - and I hope to see you again next year!

Sherry Hinman
Ontario Writers' Conference
past chair

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Hello, India! Most people don't know I'm really shy in person LOL!

Sherry, everything went swimmingly! Please tell Shirley she was very helpful with my registration and workshops.

And of course, Kevin was a whirlwind of energy. I'm glad he had a chance to say hello to us AWers and buy us a glass of wine.

amber said...

How fun!