Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CNYRW Mini-Con 2011

The 2011 CNYRW Mini-Conference was so informative, I think my head is going to explode.

This year's Mini-Con was three seminars for the price of one. And as if that weren't enough, we were treated to two speakers: Anna DeStefano, the bestselling author of more than eleven award-winning books, and literary agent Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary Agency.

Friday night, we had a candid discussion on the state of the industry. Anna publishes with Dorchester whom, as you know, is the first New York publisher to have gone digital with its catalog. If Dorchester succeeds, the consensus is that the rest of the major publishing houses will follow. The wheels turn slowly in publishing, but it's to Dorchester's credit that they were able to look at the facts and adapt accordingly. Good luck to them!

Saturday morning, Anna presented her method of craft and characterization. Character and story are deeply intertwined, and the simple chart she presented allows a character to drive the events of the story through his major personality flaw and its arc. Who knew you could create a 400-page monster from the push of such a little bitty chart? Anna also went over the process of drafting and revision, with the reminder that a first draft is always going to be less stellar than we anticipate, and that's okay! The revision is where we can perfect it. (Thank goodness!)

In the afternoon, Anna and Michelle presented a workshop on industry professionalism, with emphasis on respecting personal boundaries. Michelle gave us the unique perspective of an agent (hint: they're nervous at those pitch appointments, too, so don't sweat it so much), while Anna brought us the point-of-view of an author. The information presented here was helpful not only in business relationships, but personal ones. This was good stuff we could take home and practice on our families, so Anna and Michelle reminded us not to limit it to those "writing things."

What a great Mini-Conference! I feel like we packed a week into two days. Thank you to Anna and Michelle for their energetic, fun, and informative presentations. What a blast! Can't wait to see what CNYRW does next year!

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