Sunday, April 18, 2010

DFW Writers' Conference: Lessons learned

It's been a week since the DFW Writers' Conference ended, and since I haven't shared anything about it yet, thought I would now. I've been thinking about what many of the speakers said and here are two things that stuck out for me. There are other things to share, for sure, but I will just give you these two for now.

The first is from author A. Lee Martinez. His may have been my favorite session of the conference. He was funny and everything was very relaxed. Lots of questions were asked and he let the whole thing kind of go where ever it wanted to.

The sessions technical title was Kicking Your Plot Dependency and his overall message was eye-opening for me and I know many others. His message was this: Worry more about creating memorable moments than a wonderful plot. His reasoning is that we remember moments, not plots. We remember scenes, lines of dialogue, moments between characters, not story arcs. Not plots.

If you want to be a memorable writer that people enjoy reading, give them memorable scenes. You put enough of those together and you'll have a memorable book that people will want to read.

The second thing that I learned came after listening to many of the speakers speak. Most of them allowed for questions at the end of their sessions. Almost always someone asked about finding an agent. Nearly every writer who spoke said the same thing. It was some variation of "Well, don't use me as an example because I didn't get my agent the traditional way." Most of them found an agent because they know someone who knew that agent. Either they knew a current client. Or they were just friends with someone who knew the agent. Hearing the stories kind of drove the point home that to be a successful writer you have to be just as lucky as you do good. I knew luck was a big part of the writing thing, but hearing so many successful authors say it in person confirms what I had heard.

Like I said, there are other things I learned and I'll share those as I go through my notes. Just didn't want to wait more than a week before saying something about the conference.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Jarrett,

    Liked the comments about 'memorable moments'.

    When I stopped to think about it, recalling some of my favourite stories, I remember the situations and actions rather than the whole plot.

    Point duly noted.

    As to the comments about agents - I have a writing buddy who already has an agent. But said agent seems to be sriously dragging her heels regarding even reading my friends work.

    Luckily, he's struck up an accquaintance with a well-published author who said he'd be putting a few choice words in certain other agent's ears.

    Seems to prove the theory that success may be tied in with 'who' you know!