I Was a Male RWA Conference Attendee

by Curtis Copley

2014-09-23 22.14.19

My RWA conference experience started out a day early, with the Day of YA. Cheerful volunteers handed me a bright, bubble-gum pink bag to proudly tote around with me for the rest of the day, or for the rest of the conference, if I wished. In the bag was a matching pink program for the day, a button that read “Book Boyfriends Won’t Break Your Heart,” and a raffle ticket for the “Big Girl Panties” drawing.

Anyway, here are five takeaway notes:

James Scott Bell led the first workshop (Revision and Self-Editing for Publication): “Is there a point where a busy editor could put the book down, and not get back to it? Every scene needs a fear factor.”

Ally Carter on her Gallagher Girls series. “It was the second book that was a best seller, and the third built on it. New books are the best way to sell old books.”

Cindi Myers on Writing Faster, Writing Better: Writing faster allows you to load the whole story in your mind fresh, rather than trying to remember what you wrote a year ago, and allows you to engage your subconscious. It can be easier to get started writing if you follow a ritual (music, location, even a hat). Work is most efficient in 20 minute blocks, with 5 minute breaks. Use a timer.

Lily Everett and Roxanne St. Claire on Critiques: “It’s not about what you would do, because it’s not your book. Praise is just as important as criticism. If there’s a line you love, then say so.”

Christie Craig’s topic was Mastering Deep Point of View, but mostly I remember, “Do you want it bad enough? Don’t you give up.” Toward the end of her talk, she began taking rejection slips out of a large mailing envelope and dropping them in a suitcase. Then she took out a second large envelope and emptied it, and then a third. After her talk ended, three of us took several minutes trying to gather and straighten all those rejection slips and put them back into their envelopes. Her website says “she’s also received over 10,000 rejections.”