Western Reserve Writer's Conference

Yesterday, I attended the Western Reserve Writer's Conference held bi-annually at the Lakeland Community College. As conferences go, this one is very local and quite small. Sign-in and continental breakfast (with obligatory coffee of course) started at 0830. The kick-off meeting began at 0900. There were a total of 9 presentations being given in three groups.

The first presentation I attended was "Creative Thinking For The Creative Writer" given by Michael Wilson. He has written a book on the subject that is due to be published soon. I've never been a fan of what I call 'formalized thinking' but his presentation did have some interesting ideas. I took the handout and will review it again later. I doubt I will buy his book but I might use some of his techniques if I ever become stuck.

The second presentation was "eBooks: Good News and Challenges" by Sandra Gurvis. This speaker talked like she had just downed a 5-gallon pot of coffee. She read from a paper and went so fast I think she left most of the audience behind. The presentation was geared more towards writers who have not yet published their work. I did pick up some useful websites for promoting my books if I ever decide to go that route.

The last presentation of the day I attended was given by a lawyer named Steve Grant titled "Developing Issues in Today's Publishing". Steve is a copyright lawyer and he had a lot of interesting information to put out. He also answered quite a few questions from the audience. This was perhaps the most interesting presentation of the day.

In the end, I walked out of the conference feeling a little underwhelmed. I did pick up some useful information but it's what didn't happen that bothers me the most. I was hoping the event would have been more of a way for local writers to meet each other. Instead, everyone showed up, sat and listened to the various presenters in isolated groups, and then went home. The most animated individual there was Kevin Chapman who was trying to drum up some writers to attend his writer's group. I took his card because I'm seriously thinking of attending a couple of his meetings.

There is a need for writers to network with each other—especially local writers. I ran into two members of our Barnes & Noble writer's group at B&N after the conference (I went there for lunch and to write) and mentioned this to them. They suggested we try to put together a Lake County writer's meet and greet. It's an excellent idea! Now all we need to do is figure out how to make it happen.

Work on Peacekeeper 2 has been progressing well but I can sense a major snag in the plot coming up. I've sort of created a situation where my main character will be removed from the action. Since I can't allow that to happen, I need to find a way to keep him involved—I'm sure I will. Just one of those little glitches that can pop up during the initial draft. If your tracking this sort of thing, the novel's word count now sits at 39,816.