Sunday, October 22, 2006


"One writes a novel in order to know
why one writes. It's the same with life --
you live not for some end, but in order
to know why you live."
Alberto Moravis

"But have the courage to write whatever
your dream is for yourself."
May Sarton

I spent the weekend at the Surrey International Writers' Conference
I volunteered again this year because it allows me a chance to sit in on workshops and shcmooze with other writers and I otherwise couldn't afford to attend. It has now become one of the biggest and best writers' conferences on the Pacific Coast and I highly recommend it to anyone who can come next year.

It's not only informative but quite a thrill to rub shoulders with the published authors and meet agents and editors. Some of those who attend yearly are authors Diana Gabaldon, Jack Whyte, Jennifer Crusie, Elizabeth Lyon (editor) and Donald Maass (agent). As well, there are always a lot of the local writing community attending and it's a great time to socialize.

Again this year I was given the honorable task of introducing the guest presenters. On Friday I introduced The Wandering I, a workshop by David Leach, a B.C. adventurer, author and award winning freelance writer who is managing editor of Explore: Canada's Outdoor Magazine. And I also introduced Jill Amadio, an award winning journalist and author who was presenting a workshop on The Autobiography and Personal Memoir. On Saturday I was able to sit in on one of Jennifer Crusie's entertaining workshops Story Collage - Brainstorming with Scissors and Glue. Later I introduced an agent, Nadia Cornier for a most informative presentation Stuck in Query Hell. She gave some excellent tips for writing the winning query letter.

I always come away from these events feeling inspired and encouraged. Last week I started a new chapter of my novel, so this week I am hoping to stay on track and get a little farther along with it. Now I'm actually beginning to 'see' the end in sight and it was fun yesterday thinking about what I might write in a query letter once I'm ready to pitch to an agent. I also got some new ideas to use in my classes. It's good to have some variety in the program and I liked Jenny Crusie's collage idea for brainstorming the plot and characters. By the way, if you ever get chance to sit in a workshop with this particular writer, do so. She is not only extremely informative but hilarious and you will be pleasantly amused for the whole time you are learning great things!

"One writer excels at a plan or a title page,
another works away at the body of the book,
and a third is adapt at an index."
Oliver Goldsmith 1728 - 1774 "The Bee" 1759

"The writer's point of view is a choice among tools" Tracy Kidder


Gabriele C. said...

Sounds like you had a fun time.

How does Jenny Crusie brainstorm plot and characters? Because my plot is hiding and my characters don't cooperate, and Nano starts in a week. ;)

Wynn Bexton said...

Hi Gabriele, check out her website and see if she gives any ideas there

I think I'll do another blog on transitions and I'll explain her technique of collaging which is unique and very useful for plotting and getting visual ideas for scenes and characters.

Gabriele C. said...

A post about her plotting technique would be nice, I can't find anything about that on her website.

Debra Young said...

Hi, Wynn, have not visited in a while. That conference sounds like a good one! d:)