I love road trips... especially, if I'm heading to a writing event.
Let me tell you about how my weekend shaped up.
On Friday afternoon, I spent three full hours with the amazing Wayson Choy. Okay, so there were a few other people in the room with us too, so I did share him a little bit. Wayson spoke to us about how to live dangerously: write what matters and he explained the difference between what you know to be true and telling the truth. Sounds complicated, doesn't it?
Well, Wayson has a way with words, and he explained it perfectly to us. "You need to talk about the truth and you, as writers, need to write it. The highest forms of truth are often secrets." He had us thinking, laughing and writing. We did an exercise on facing a secret truth, that we probably didn't want to share with the class, but it was a wonderful exercise. Some of our new creations were read aloud and I couldn't believe how incredible they were, considering we only had five minutes to write them. People can surprise themselves; I know, I did.
"Truth will set you free, and you as a writer, can decide to tell the truth or not." ~ Wayson Choy
"Truth is multi-dimensional. It is the angle of the view that makes it different." ~ Wayson Choy
My favourite part of the evening was not the wine tasting, but meeting up with several other local authors, who I haven't seen for months. Talking on Twitter and Facebook, just isn't the same as seeing them in person, so I can get big hugs and hear all about their kids and their current writing projects. This is hard to do in 140 characters throughout the rest of the year.
Here's one taken at the Festival of Authors. Lots of smiles... you can hardly tell any of us were nervous, right?
I attended these workshops, and wish I had some time to fit in a few more (never enough time):
- Making the Scene: Settings for Stories, Big or Small (Advanced Class) with Andrew Borkowski.
- Overcoming Writer's Insecurities with Allison Baggio
- In The Details with Erin Bow
Anyway, there were some Literary Agents attending the conference, as they do every year. Look at what they were doing... exactly what I was doing, and my friends were hitting me in the back, telling me to put my phone away. I just wanted to be hanging with the cool kids, tweeting the day away. ;P
As for the Literary Agent that I was meeting, I feel it would be bad luck to mention her at the moment (yep, I'm superstitious too)... I have to hit the big SEND button on an email I'm sending her tonight, and I want the vibes to be good, no wait, I want them to be EXCELLENT. So, if all goes well, I'll reveal her name later. Overall though, if you have never actually sat down with an agent or a blue pencil mentor before, the Ontario Writers' Conference is the BEST place to do that. You can practice your pitch with them and they give you their opinion on your writing style and maybe they might help you with your pitch, your first page of the manuscript, etc. It just depends on what you want to talk to them about. They are happy to answer questions, but keep in mind, 15 minutes goes by very fast...especially if you are nervous and tend to ramble on and on (not like I know anybody who did that).
As for speakers, there were so many amazing people talking to us, I was just overwhelmed with admiration of these people. Dorothea Helms "The Writing Fairy" was the Master of Ceremonies. Wayson Choy, the Honorary Patron of OWC said a few inspiring words to the crowd. Brett Savory and Carrie Cutforth-Young talked about new ventures in Distribution; Andrew Pyper was the lunch speaker I bought his book The Guardians) and my all-time favourite Canadian author, who made me love his book, even though I despise politics, Terry Fallis... he had us in stitches in the closing ceremonies. Damn, he's funny! I was able to get both Andrew & Terry's autograph in some books I purchased, PLUS Terry took the time to chat with me after almost everyone left the building AND he took a few pictures with me. He's actually talking in most of them, but this one looks cool. We are chatting about his first book, The Best Laid Plan. Have you read it? You should. I loved it. :)
Overall, I can't wait to attend the next Ontario Writers' Conference...book it now, April 24th & 25th, 2015! See you there.