Yet Another Conference Post

Xposted from eljayland.

I'm sitting in the lobby of the Red Lion in Portland waiting for Caroline to rise and shine---the wifi reception in the room sucks dog weiner. Despite being a decent conference, full of fun film workshops (the comedy, the horror), I'm blowing off the last day of Willamette WC to spend some time with my girl.

Here's the rundown...

Friday was the first full day, Thursday being primarily for registration and pitch practices (which were so beyond painful to watch). So after meeting some great people at Friday breakfast, I get a call from Caroline, her train has been canceled (this wouldn't normally be an issue, she could have driven down from Olympia (about two hours) but the Volvo is leaking oil like a weepy zit. So half that day was spent driving up to pick her up and coming back. Fuck you Amtrak!

Saturday's workshops were awesome, Hollywood guy Luke Ryan did this mini series on deconstructing film genre that was entertaining and surprisingly pertinent to my stuff, and Liz Engstrom, horror and erotica writer, led a fun group through the construction of a "hot" sex scene.

The best part? Why all the soul-stealing, of course.

I'm talking about behavior snapshots. It's a holdover from my career as a psychotherapist, observing, taking notes. "You" may not recognize yourself in my fiction, but I will.


So the big question I asked myself: Why did I even go to this thing? It turns out my answer is a little flimsy. I was hoping to put the cap on this crazy year, sort of a pilgrimage to the spot where it all started. What I got out of it was something entirely different: a recharge. In fact, the outline of the book is done, the plot and comedy bits are solid. I'm happy.

Now we can just spend the rest of today shopping in Portland's awesome Nob Hill, and hitting Powell's one last time, WITHOUT the dread of not knowing where this book is going.


Joe said…
Amtrak sucks. They always know where your jugular is and latch on to bleed you dry. Glad you're having fun in Portland. When I lived there all I worried about was where the book was going. That, and where to get good Mexican.

TBIWBTW is whizzing ahead. 80 pages & counting. Somebody already wants to read it along with a synopsis of the rest. So that's where I am.
Mark Henry said…
You lived there? Good news for me. I'm setting the spin-off series there. I'll be picking your brain...apart.

Good deal on the book whizzing, and especially the interest. Rocks.
Anonymous said…
How do these writing conferences work? You just pay the fee and attend whatever sessions you're into? Or do you get a special invite? I know nothing from writing cons and comicons, just academic conferences.
Joe said…
Let me start the picking. For six months I lived up on 23rd in front of the Rose Garden. Yuppies vs. homeless and I awoke to the sound of people vomiting massive cans of beer into the woods. Worked at Beaverton Borders for a while, sold a travel guide for enough money to quit, then spent my days prowling Goodwill and Powells for books. Wrote copiously but not well, producing an 800 page manuscript so dense that even I couldn't read it when I was finished. Then I left.
Mark Henry said…
Hey Jes,

Yeah you can pay the fee and go. The bigger writer's conferences have a wide selection of courses, speakers at lunch and dinner, agents and editors available to take pitches.

As a debut uf novelist, particularly one with a teaching background and non-fiction books on sci-fi fantasy topics, could email the programmer for whatever con and volunteer to do a session, or sit on a panel, and get the whole thing free, probably hotel, too. Maybe not airfare, but could be.

I've started emailing programmers offering my pathetic speaking voice to their cons. I'm looking at next year, though.
Mark Henry said…
and Joe...sounds like good times. I'm gonna need some inside neighborhood stuff. The best ones the worst ones, specific slang. And above all where would I put a large fictional Cathedral that may or may not be a send up of a Scientology Headquarters?
Anonymous said…
awesome, thanks mark, and congrats on the good blurb for your book

maybe we can sweet-talk them into comping a Denny's meal for us