By Justine Lewis
I don’t know about you, but my post-conference high has been well and truly crushed by my post-conference lurgy. But I’m on the mend now and Bec’s callout for a blog post about the conference was just the thing I needed to get my butt back into the chair. It’s also forced me to look over my conference notes— Am I the only one who plans to type up their illegible conference notes and then never does? No? Just me? Anyway, in no particular order, here are my conference highlights.
1. Kate Forsyth’s Friday workshop. She covered some familiar ground but I find that familiar concepts presented in different ways can be inspiring. The discussion about static and dynamic characters was interesting, in particular her observation that every genre has its own conventions in this respect, for instance in romance both the hero and heroine will usually be dynamic (i.e. will change/grow over the course of the story) while in crime usually the detective and the villain will both be static. As writers we can twist these conventions to create a more powerful story.
I think a few people found Kate’s insistence that a story must only ever have one true protagonist controversial, but what resonated with me were her comments about the rise of the male protagonist in romance, which she said began with Heyer. Thinking about the hero of my current WIP as the true protagonist of the story has strengthened it and given it a new lease of life. Thanks Kate!
2. Marion Lennox’s key note speech. So. Good. Exactly what I need to hear and everyone I spoke to about it raved. It was titled ‘Protecting your Magic for a Lifetime’ and was about the risks of choosing writing as a career and preventing burnout. The parts that resonated with me most were her reminders to think about what you love about writing. This is unlikely to be things like finishing a book or even getting it published, but the actual writing process itself; falling in love with your characters, having a plot click into place, the rhythm of a beautiful sentence, and when you smile at something you’ve written. She reminded us that writing is in fact a high stress occupation – with deadlines, words-counts and not to mention opening yourself up to judgement and criticism.
3. The Business Hub – I didn’t go to all the sessions but the Draft to Digital guys were great and after listening to them self-publishing isn’t quite the big mystery it was to me before. Still not sure I’m ready to take the plunge, but watch this space.
4. The gala dinner. I love an awards night and I love watching people celebrate their achievements. I also loved catching up with old friends and making new ones. I also love to dance.
5. Vitamin D. The Brisbane weather was beautiful and apart from the arctic air con in the Pullman, it was a great venue. Brisby-land we love you and I’d go back in a flash.
What about you? What were your conference highlights?