Saturday, July 26, 2014

Another WIFYR come and gone

James Dashner, Carol Lynch Williams, Lisa Mangnum, Ann Cannon, agents, and an editor. Another fantastic WIFYR is in the books.

I don’t know how Carol Williams manages to pull this magical week off every year, but she does. And keeps up on her personal writing. And plays Mom to her five daughters. The lady is amazing. She can dance, too.

Ann Cannon was awesome again. We had a baker’s dozen in our workshop this year. When the enrollment looked small, Ann had assigned 20 pages to share. Then one of the instructors dropped out and our class absorbed some of those writers and critiquing that many pages from so many people became a task. Certainly not in negative way. There is something rewarding about working with other writers, all helping each other lift their craft.

One of my favorite presenters was Lisa Mangum. She had a session on pitching your work and another on reader grabbing first lines and openings. For pitching, it depends on the situation. She touched on the tradition 30 second “elevator” pitch, but sometimes you may not have that much time. At a book signing at Costco, for example, you may have only two seconds to interest someone. She gave suggestions for boiling down your book to it’s essence for situations like that.

John Cusick, agent for Greenhouse Literary Agency and a fiction writer on his own, gave an inspiring presentation. One of his tricks for staying on task during his writing moments is a timer program that does not allow email or internet interruptions. As far as pushing yourself to write, he said, nobody cares if you don’t finish your novel. I care.

Those were just a few of the many intriguing and energizing moments. Start stashing away your nickels and quarters now because Carol will be bringing this conference back again next June.

(This article also posted at

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