Now THAT was a conference!

Whooo-eeee! A three-and-one-half day whirlwind just deposited me back at home and my brain is still reeling. So many great people, so much information conveyed, such a lot of encouragement, inspiration and motivation provided… not to mention all the fabulous food consumed!

I promised a conference round up, but I’ve come to the conclusion it’s impossible to condense the following into a few paragraphs:

  • the impact of being among 700 people who love writing as much as you do,
  • the contributions of fifty-five authors, agents, editors and screenwriters at the free ‘Blue Pencil’ and agent interviews,
  • the vast amounts of material they presented during more than seventy workshops,
  • the helpfulness of at least a hundred volunteers, staff and organizers, or
  • the luxury of the conference’s first class hotel setting.

You’ve heard the saying ‘you need to see it to believe it.’ Well, in this case you need to be there to fully appreciate it.

Maybe by Wednesday my brain will be better able to sort through the weekend’s highlights, but at the moment it’s still on Information Overload. For now I think I’ll leave you with a few of my photos and the suggestion that you set aside October 24-27, 2013 and plan to come and see for yourself what makes this conference one of the very best in North America.

[A click on any photo will enlarge it]

Just one-third of the packed Conference hotel ballroom

MC, Carol “Sparkles” Monaghan complete with deelyboppers but minus her wand and feather boa

Agent Donald Maass and Conference Coordinator Kathy Chung

DD Shari Green and author Eileen Cook at the Book Fair

Author Jack Whyte giving his annual rendition of “Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud” (after which he lost his voice)

Author Hallie Ephron at Saturday night’s Book Fair

Editor Nancy Marie Bell (and yes, Joylene, I DID give her your hug!)

SiWC writing contest coordinator and author kc dyer…

… and kc’s infamous “sexy legs” tights

There are more, but they’ll have to wait. The weekend’s lack of sleep has caught up to me and I’m off to dream the maybe-not-so-impossible-anymore dream.

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What happens at SiWC….

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What happens in Surrey doesn’t necessarily stay in Surrey! If this video by Kimberly (@kimmydon) doesn’t convince you the Surrey International Writers’ Conference is THE place to be, nothing will. Where else would you see uber-agent Donald Maass literally stripping the [auctioned] shirt off the back of uber-author Robert Dugoni?


I couldn’t get to the conference this year, but followed the highlights via Twitter and Facebook, and am already looking forward to attending the 2012 conference — its twentieth anniversary year. It’s impossible to contemplate missing this conference two years in a row, though not necessarily because of the fun aspects.

Were you there? Or have you attended other conferences this year? What were the highlights for you?

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Whose Story Is It Anyway?

Authors get asked all the time about the source of their ideas and there’s never a simple explanation. A fragment of conversation, a fleeting glimpse of the unconventional, an unexpected sequence of events, and suddenly the writer’s mind is asking, “What if…?”

 

The idea won’t be original. There are basic themes that have regularly reappeared throughout literary history. It’s a given that whatever one chooses to write about has probably already been written by someone else.  What will make the story unique is not the idea but how it is developed by a particular author.

 

In his first contribution to the “Writer Unboxed” blog, Donald Maass says, “Originality can come only from what you bring of yourself to your story. In other words, originality is not a function of your novel; it is a quality in you.”

 

There is no better way to say it.