I have been planning to attend the Southwest California Writer’s Conference at the end of September but yesterday I found one I think I like better – the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s Conference. I’m really torn about it because the RMFW one is an awkward date for me but after careful deliberation I decided to do that one instead. Here’s the breakdown:
– The Advanced Submissions: you can send the first pages of your manuscript and your query letter in advance to the agent/editor/writer of your choice and they will evaluate it and you get 15 minutes to spend with them discussing. Each session is an extra $50. I did this two years ago when I went and it was definitely helpful.
– Read & Critique Workshops: they have structured R&C sessions that are arbitrated and you go and read the first 10 pages or so of your thing and get feedback. And you listen to the other people do the same thing. They have them during the day but also at night so there are lots of opportunities to get feedback and listen to other writers. I didn’t do this last time because, after meeting with the two agents I realized that I needed to re-work my first 10 pages. Also, I am not a night person and I wanted to take other classes during the daytime sessions. Also, I’m a wimp and I was scared to read my story out loud for people. Lame, I know.
– Timing: it’s a far more convenient weekend.
– It costs more.
– It’s geared towards all writing so there will be fewer sessions directed at fiction writing. And the full schedule isn’t available yet, either.
– I don’t know who any of the quest speakers are. I’m sure they are all lovely people and gifted, successful writers, but still.
– It’s just for fiction writers, so every session is geared towards some aspect of fiction writing and publishing. And as I went through the schedule of sessions I will be hard pressed to narrow it down. And they have several genre specific classes that are applicable not just to my current project, but to the next two ideas I plan to work on.
– The keynote speaker is Bernard Cornwell. He is, like, a total hero of mine. When I started thinking about my next project, I decided that I could actually make a platform for historical fiction thanks to my hobby. And when I think of historical fiction I think of Bernard Cornwell. He writes so vividly and with such wonderful detail. And I want to be just like him when I grow up.
– They also have a Read & Critique session, but it’s with an actual agent. It’s like the SCWC R&Q session combined with the Advanced Submission. You pick the agent you want and send them your stuff and they critique it with you and 7 other writers during a 3 hour session. I was a little unsure of this when I first read it as it’s a group setting and the other one is one-on-one, but the more I thought about it the more I liked it. It will force me to do a group critique (which I need to do) and I’ll get to listen to the other people’s writing and critiques, too. And it costs less.
– They are having a neat group short story critique in the bar one night. A bunch of the agents/presenters will be there and I guess they’ll read a published short story and everyone in attendance will discuss it over drinks. How fun does that sound? I love literary analysis and what an education – to see how an agent or editor evaluates a story!
– It’s a weekend that I already had plans. Important plans that involved my whole family. So I’ll be missing a family visit and my husband won’t get to participate in something he’s been really looking forward to for months.
So the balance is in favor of the RMFW conference. Luckily my husband is really supportive of my writing and is trying his best not to be disappointed at missing his thing. I’m really, really excited. I paid my money today and I just have to make my hotel and travel arrangements!