Things you learn at a writers’ conference

Yesterday I attended a writers’ conference hosted by Bayou Writers’ Group. The four speakers that presented were amazing. Not only in their presentations, but in their attitudes and personalities. It was a joy to see them interact with so many writers – from aspiring to published. Their presentations satisfied every writer that attended. It was my pleasure to attend this conference and learn from these women.

What I learned at BWG Writers’ Conference:

Johnnie Bernard – Developmental and Content Editing

You think you know all about editing? Let me tell you, Johnnie is a mastermind when it comes to this topic. What stuck out in my mind the most was her analogy of using the sitcom some of us remember (showing my age again). What do you think of when you remember Leave it to Beaver? More so, how does it apply to writing?

  • Landmarks – Just like the memorable landmarks of Mayfield, your story needs to have landmarks readers can identify with.
  • Strong Supporting Cast – Incorporate an Eddie Haskell into your story. Not only will he/she bring lots of laughter, but will resonate authenticity with your readers.
  • Teachable Moments – Beaver always had a life lesson intertwined in those thirty minutes. Make sure your story brings a lesson your readers can learn from.

Elizabeth Ludwig – Researching Historical Facts for Fiction

Elizabeth presented on the importance of historical facts. Your genre readers are looking for a great story, but keep in mind that some of them are also interested in history. What this means for an author is that you must research facts and portray them correctly in your story.

  • Locate Social Etiquette books for the time period you write.
  • It is okay for your character not to know all the social rules, but there must be repurcussions. This lets the reader know that the author knows the social rules.
  • Cliches are okay to use if they are appropriate for the time period of your story.
  • Colleges and universities are great resources for checking historical facts.
  • If at all possible, visit the location of the setting of your book.

S.M. Schmitz – Becoming Visible in an Invisible Marketing World

Every author wants their work to be seen by readers. S.M. has the knowledge and experience to show authors how to accomplish this feat. She walked us through Launching a New Book and Online Platforms. There was something for writers in every step of their journey.

  • Before launching a book, you need to understand Amazon Ranking. (see S.M.’s website for more info.)
  • Authors need an online presence through websites, newsletters, and social media.
  • Plan – Plan – Plan – Make a plan for each day of the month to learn something about marketing your book. (listen to podcasts or read books; research ads)
  • Send newsletters consistently, and keep the content fresh, brief, and relevant to your books.

Juliette Cross – Building a Realistic Fantasy World in Your Fiction Novel

Juliette touched on what is needed to bring your reader a believable and memorable story world. Not only did she present, but she worked with the writers through various writing prompts that pertained to her topics. The readings from the participants at the writers’ conference were amazing!

  • Sensual – The story must appeal to the five senses; evoke mood/emotion; and show a unique perspective of nature and surroundings.
  • Realistic Fiction / Fantasy Element – Have the story grounded in the familiar; embed realism in mythology, history, and storytelling.
  • Emotional Characterization – Engaging dialogue should reflect characters’ personalities; internal monologue adds depth and humor to your story; know the way your character walks, talks, eats, etc.
  • Take a journal with you into nature. Sit and feel your surroundings. Write through your emotions and senses.

Following the writers’ conference, these speakers joined twenty other authors for an author signing (Pelican Tales). It was a fabulous day full of learning, meeting new people, and mingling with authors and readers. Check out each of these authors / speakers. They offer a lot more than what they had time to present at the conference.

Till next time,

Love, hugs, and kisses – Taylor

Pelican Tales

Writers’ Conference – Taylor Anne, Juliette Cross, Elizabeth Ludwig, S.M. Schmitz, Johnnie Bernhard

4 thoughts on “Things you learn at a writers’ conference

  1. Thanks for this summary of the conference. One thing I learned is that, even if you aren’t writing in a certain genre you can learn and be inspired by hearing about it. Like, Juliette is paranormal but her exercises helped spark some ideas for my genre: mystery. Also, there’s more than one way to publish a book. I liked hearing different perspectives from Sharyn on self-pub, and Katilyn and Natascha on traditional publishing. And, just being around other writers makes me want to write.

    • You’re welcome! Yes, the speakers contributed to everyone, no matter what genre, or what stage of writing they are in. I got so much out of these ladies!

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