Hot Tips for Attending Online Writing Conferences

We know there’s a difference between writing and being good at it, but how do we get from one to the other? That’s a mystery all writers tangle with. A question we want an answer to. But rather than asking some no-name blogger who hasn’t finished their manuscript, you really should consult a pro.

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Writing conferences were created for that very purpose. There are a variety of draws. Workshops for honing your craft, keynote speakers you’ve dreamt of meeting, Q&A panels where you get answers from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. And recently I’ve discovered the wonder and accessibility of online conferences. All the same perks, plus you don’t have to change out of your pajamas. It’s a win-win, so long as you know how to prepare.

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For Writers – #50PreciousWords

Challenging yourself is one of the best ways to learn. Joining a challenge with other people can be a lot of fun. Like NaNoWriMo, for instance. But this challenge is pretty much the opposite of NaNoWriMo. If you couldn’t guess from the title, #50PreciousWords is a challenge to write an entire story, beginning, middle, and ending, in just 50 words. I took a shot.

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For Writers – WriteOnCon

Events for writers are a lot of fun. I’ve been to a few conferences, participate in NaNoWriMo with regularity, go hang out with a small group of writing friends once a month, stalk writerly accounts on social media, and live with a writer/author who lets me steal books from her organized-by-rainbow-order bookshelf whenever I want (yes, I consider this an event). But I’m probably the most excited about a new conference I’ll be attending this year called WriteOnCon. Why?

 

  • This event is actually for ME! All of the conferences I’ve ever attended have been for writers of “grown up books”, where if someone asks a question regarding YA or younger audiences, they get a glazed look and a wishy-washy non-answer. And while I strongly believe that good writing advice can be applied to any genre, I’m VERY excited that WriteOnCon is a conference for writers of children’s books, middle grade, and young adult. I’m guaranteed that the advice is coming from people who know what they’re talking about, and that it will directly apply to my own writing and future publishing goals.
  • I get to stay home! Much as I love to pull out my minty combat boots and tuck a formal turban, it’ll be a relief for this introvert to stick to pajama pants while rubbing elbows with professionals and peers this time around. That’s right, it’s an online conference.
  • I can afford to pay for my own ticket! I’ve had to be the tag-along, plus-one, and unofficial sherpa for most of my conference attendances, but because this is an online ordeal, the cost per head is a lot cheaper. A LOT cheaper. Like, I can afford to buy Starbucks with the change, a LOT cheaper.
  • I’m a little starstruck! Don’t let the price tag fool you. There are some seriously quality speakers showing up at this thing. Just check out this lineup… Jess Keating, Margaret Dilloway, Melanie Conklin, Cindy Baldwin, and Gail Carson Levine? I’m in.

 

Have I convinced you? Well, you’re just in time! The conference runs from this Friday, February 9 through Sunday, February 11. There’s a fantastic article on the WriteOnCon website about how you can get the most out of this online conference (right here), and registration starts at just $5.

Busy that weekend? Extended admission is available if you need a little extra time to peruse, re-watch, read up, and soak in all that information.

 


Planning to go? Let me know! I’d love to meet fellow readers and writers of middle grade.

SDCWG Conference Afterglow – Creating Characters, Not Bios

During the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Fall Conference, I attended a workshop held by Susan Meissner called “Writing The Novel Readers Can’t Put Down.” And while all of the advice she shared was solid, I found her tips on creating layered and lovable characters was especially thought-provoking.

A relatable character is the first step to any great story. If we feel a connection to the protagonist, we’re far more likely to care what happens to them. You can have action, suspense, and drama, but if I don’t care about the protagonist, there’s no tension pulling me in and making me wonder what will happen next.

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