Monday, March 14, 2011

Southern Lights Writers Conference, Part 2

I am home from the Southern Lights Writers Conference, sponsored by the First Coast Romance Writers of Jacksonville, Florida. It was my first-ever out of town writers conference, and I am so glad I went.

The speakers were great. First up was New York Times Bestselling author Cheryl Wilson with a lecture on world building. Since I write women's fiction, I didn't think this workshop would be relevant to me, but Cheryl explained that world building crosses genre; by the time she was finished, I was ready to try my hand at writing a fantasy series - look out, J. K. Rowling! Next, writer Renee Ryan shared twelve steps to writing success. All of her suggestions were spot-on, but one I hadn't considered before was "Study movies like a writer," perhaps even turning the sound off in order to truly understand action versus dialogue. Finally, Vic DiGenti offered tips for spicing up plot using characters, dialogue, setting and point of view. We even did some writing exercises.

Cheryl Wilson also gave the keynote speech, "Preparing for Success." On the heels of an agent pitch appointment that didn't go so well - although she did ask me to send her my synopsis - I really needed to hear Cheryl's words of encouragement. Write what you love. Master your craft. Develop friendships with other writers. Forgive yourself when you fall short of your own expectations. Refill the artistic well. Thanks, Cheryl.

Cheryl Wilson and Pam Asberry

Speaking of friendships with other writers, it was a pleasure to see author Ava Milone again.

Lindy Chaffin Start, Pam Asberry, Ava Milone

And after the conference ended, there was just enough daylight left for a quick drive to Jacksonville Beach.

Lindy Chaffin Start & Pam Asberry, cold but happy

There was an hour and a half wait for a table at Joe's Crab Shack, so we dined at Campeche Bay Mexican Restaurant instead. It turned out to be a great choice. I should have taken a picture of my fish tacos but I was so hungry that I ate them before the thought occurred to me. Next time.

During the drive back to Atlanta, Lindy and I discussed our writing goals and put our heads together to come up with ways to better organize our days so we can meet our personal and professional obligations and find more to write. Anything is possible. I am more determined than ever.

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Submit, submit, submit.


Ava Milone said...

Hi Pam! It was greet to see you again in sunny Jacksonville (even though it was a little windy!) Look forward to getting together again at M&M...if not NYC.

-Ava Milone

Pam said...

Hi Ava,
It was great to see you, too. I'm not going to make it to nationals this year, but I will definitely be at M&M. In the meantime, I'll "see" you on Facebook! :-)

Lindy said...

What a joy spending the weekend with you and making new writer friends like Ava, Cheryl, Vic and Renee. It was everything I needed to read, read, read; write, write, write; and submit, submit, submit, too!

Pam said...

Yes, Lindy! We are on a roll now! :-)

Julee J. Adams said...

Sounds like a great and inspiring time! AND you got to eat some great food and go to the beach--I'm jealous. A support group is crucial and I'm grateful you are finding yours. Keep up your energy and find your joy!

Pam said...

Oh, yes, Julee! I know you are active in your local chapter of RWA, but are you part of a critique group? Do you have any conference plans this year? I am amazed that you and I are on the same path after all these years. It's an exciting journey, and it's so much better shared with friends. New AND old!

C.L. Wilson said...

It was such a pleasure to be part of the conference, and had a great time chatting w/you Pam :)

Pam said...

Likewise, Cheryl! It was a pleasure to meet you, and I am looking forward to reading your work. I hope our paths cross again soon!

Tami Brothers said...

I'm so jealous! Great information, awesome writers teaching the classes and THE BEACH!!!!!

Hope you guys had fun.

Definitely stop by for coffee on your way through next time... ;-)


Pam said...

Tami, I really had no idea where you lived, or we would have! Better yet, next time you should come with us! :-)