Bonnie Doran’s heart is in science fiction. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and Sudoku puzzles. Her husband of thirty years is a Mad Scientist who owns a 2,300-pound electromagnet. They share their Denver home with two Siamese cats. Her debut novel, Dark Biology, released October 25 from Pelican Book Group
Writer’s Conferences: Why Should You Attend?
We’re entering conference season. Conferences across the country are typically scheduled between February and October.
If you live within driving distance or close enough to commute, conferences are a bargain. But why should you attend one halfway across the country and pay the big bucks for registration, food, and lodging?
Here are a few reasons:
- Teaching: Top-notch instructors help you grow in the craft. None of us ever arrive. In one workshop, a friend of mine was shocked when Francine Rivers sat behind her.
- Camaraderie: We writers can feel isolated as we pound the keyboard in our pajamas. Emails and Facebook posts exchanged with other writers can help the loneliness, but for me, face to face is best. You can meet those people you know through the internet as well as meet new writing friends. And let’s face it, no one but another writer understands when you tell them your characters aren’t cooperating.
- Appointments: At most conferences, you can sign up for appointments with editors, agents, authors, and other professionals. If you’re ready to pitch that devotional book or novel, this is where you want to be. Many editors will not accept unagented writers except for those they meet at conferences. In 2012, I signed with both an agent and a publisher whom I met at a conference.
- Worship: Christian conferences have wonderful times of coming together for worship.
- Books: This is a great time to pick up Christian books you might not find anywhere else as well as books on the craft recommended by faculty.
- Professional connections: I’ve met writers at all levels at conferences. Some of the professional ones have encouraged me beyond the classroom. Robert Liparulo whom I met when he taught for several years at conferences, graciously wrote an awesome endorsement for my first novel, as well as Mark Mynheir.
- Giving back: Conferences offer opportunities to give back to the writing community. They have directors but run on the generosity of volunteers. Also, you can encourage other writers. Many just starting out don’t know where to turn for encouragement, and many are overwhelmed with the input they receive after attending a bunch of workshops that overload their brain.
- Inspiration: Learning goes beyond the nuts and bolts of craft teaching. Workshop leaders and keynote speakers can recharge you when you’re in the midst of writing trudgery, whether that’s writer’s block, discouragement, or frustration at the whole process.
Not sure if you can afford a conference? Many offer scholarships.
Here are a few writers conferences to consider. You can fine a complete list in the Christian Writers Market Guide.
Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, April 9-15, 2014, held near Santa Cruz, California. This is one on my wish list.
Colorado Christian Writers Conference, May 14-17, 2014, held in Estes Park, Colorado. I’ve attended this one for 16 years and plan to go this year.
Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, May 18-22, 2014, near Asheville, North Carolina. This is another one on my wish list. Alton Gansky directs this conference.
Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, July 30-August 2, Longhorne, Pennsylvania. Marlene Bagnull directs this one as well as the Colorado Conference and they have a similar format.
ACFW 2014 Conference, September 25-27, St. Louis, Missouri. This conference focuses on fiction. I’ve attended this one for seven years and plan to go this fall.
Writer’s Workshop, October 12-14, 2014, Colorado Springs, Colorado. At this event, hosted by Angela Hunt and Nancy Rue. This one is part craft, part retreat. I’ve attended for three years.
So consider attending a conference this year. The benefits are incalculable.
by Bonnie Duran
Renowned vaccinologist “Hildi” Hildebrandt has set her sights on beating her brother to a Nobel Prize, and the opportunity to conduct experiments on the International Space Station might just provide the means to obtain that goal. Chet Hildebrandt should have had that opportunity. But now he’ll teach a lesson to them all: his hot-shot astronaut sister, his philandering hypocritical father, and the CDC for not properly appreciating his work. One vial of a virus purloined from the CDC labs and released at his father’s marriage seminar should do the trick, without hurting anybody.
After all, it’s only a mild influenza strain…Or is it?
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