PNWA Con. Check. Willamette starts on Thursday. Why I chose to attend these two conferences back to back is beyond me. Have I simply taken my distractions to a higher, more expensive level? Probably. I have a mixed opinion about PNWA. It was so great to meet my agent, finally. Jim is a bundle of sarcastic wit. You know how I can't stand sarcasm, or jokes, or making fun of celebrities, right? Wrong. He's all kinds for awesome, and so were his peeps. We had drinks Saturday night with some other agents, authors and at least one editor (who was adorable and funny). Finally, got to meet the ubitquitous (at least on FFF) Rachel Vater, who is this gracious and friendly fireball (Melissa and Jeaniene: if your ears were burning Saturday night, it's because we were singing your praises).
Oh My God. I got to thank the editor that was instrumental in getting the ball rolling on Happy Hour of the Damned. Liz is well...I can't find the words. I owe her. She was great, complimentary, and f**king awesome (there's some words).
Richelle Mead and Caitlin Kittredge facilitated an info-packed seminar on world building that got pretty good attendance, despite an infuriating double scheduling of Kat Richardson's own paranormal seminar down the hall (I ended up splitting time, and enjoyed both).
On to the mixed part, in the form of a conference warning.
If you are a writer, expecting to get your work into the right hands, my advice is to try your hardest not to be an asshole. I passed this one table of writers. They were surrounding the con program like a bubbling cauldron, pointing out which agents and or editors were "evil" or "devils", for not asking for their manuscript, or---God forbid---offering critique. The negativity rolling from this table told me one thing: these people are headed for self-publishing and eventual failure. Take the advice, people. If the agents and editors don't want it, there is a reason. Honest critique is the only way for a writer to improve their craft. Even if it's delivered without any softeners.
When you go to a conference that actually has the ability to attract really great agents and editors (which PNWA does), count yourself among the lucky. A face to face opportunity to talk about your shit? Awesome. A writer can learn from any personal interaction with these professionals. They're really your people, the entire building will be full of people who love books. As one agent told me, "there's no reason for anyone to be afraid to pitch, (we're all on the same side)." I paraphrased that last bit, 'cause I'm a writer, and all.
Maybe I should go write something...oh wait, I just did.