The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference 2012, which took place from June 8 to June 10 in the Holiday Inn at Fourth and Arch Streets in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, provided three days of fun, learning, and comradeship with fellow writers and industry professionals.
Here’s a sampling of what I learned in a few of the sessions:
Young Adult / Middle Grade with Marie Lamba
- Every word needs to move the story forward.
- “Reveal only what’s needed.”
- The authentic teenage voice is essential. Consider the biggest fears, developmental issues, and things happening in a young person’s life at that age.
- Get your readers hooked into the fictional dream. “It’s not as much what you say as what you don’t say. … The prose can kill the fictional dream. … If you tell the emotion, you’re killing the fictional dream.”
- Imagery has to be precise and functional.
Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal with Caridad Pineiro Scordato
- Stories in these genres often fall into the pattern of the hero’s journey.
- The hero’s journey begins in the ordinary world, but the protagonist should not spend too much time there before the journey begins.
- “The ordinary world is something that has to be crafted very carefully.” All things which are portrayed in the ordinary world must have some relevance to the hero’s journey.
- The steps in the classic hero’s journey don’t always have to occur in that exact order.
- The difference between a stereotype and an archetype: a stereotype is one-dimensional, but an archetype is complex and dynamic.
Selling Your eBook with Steven Spatz
- Be objective about your book. Your book is a product.
- Gather marketing information before writing your book.
- Because an ebook cover looks small to prospective buyers, it can’t be subtle.
- Price your ebook based on your goals.
- Create a great sales page.
Social Media with Don Lafferty
- Given two manuscripts of equal quality, the writer who has an established social media presence will have the edge with an agent or editor.
- Have a social media strategy and build your social media footprint.
- All your social media sites should lead people to your website or blog.
- At the top of your timeline, people want to see your face.
- Establish a listening post.
Poetry II with Lynn Levin
- Lyrical poems do not have to rhyme, but if you use rhyme, don’t be afraid to stretch into less common forms of rhyme.
1. true rhyme: two words with the same end sounds – cat/spat
2. identical rhyme: using the same word to rhyme with itself – dog/dog
3. consonant rhyme: using the same final consonant – hat/wet
4. assonantal rhyme: using the same vowel sound – fit/tin
5. sight rhyme: using words spelled the same but pronounced differently – dove/move
- Lengths of poetry books
1. Chapbook: 20-36 pages
2. Chaplet: under 20 pages
3. Full-length book: 48 or more pages
A writers’ conference offers a wealth of information. Yes, some of it — maybe a lot of it — may be information you’ve heard before. However, as fellow writer Jim Kempner said between sessions at the convention, you may need to hear something twelve times before you really understand what it means and how to apply it in your writing. In addition, each writer has a different perspective and presents the information from a different angle. So, although I’ve attended a number of conferences and conventions, I always learn something new and head home inspired and energized.