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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Colorado Gold

Just a quick review of the Colorado Gold Writers' Conference. This conference is presented every September in Denver by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I try to go if I can, as it is a group of people I enjoy hanging around. It is not the biggest conference, nor does it pull in the kind of big name presenters that the Surrey International or even Pikes Peak does. But it certainly is a place where a beginning writer can feel welcome and learn a lot. And I think it is improving in quality every year. Here were the highlights of my experience this year...

I don't do the editor/agent critique or pitch sessions, as I have quite enough on my plate at present, thank you very much. But I do enjoy meeting these guests when I can. Some are very nice about hanging around the convention spaces and visiting. Some run off to be by themselves when they're not working.

I also enjoy meeting the attendees. At the Friday night welcome buffet, the organizers took a page from some other conferences and designated genre tables where attendees could sit with the agents, editors, or guest authors to talk about fantasy or romance or historical writing. And after the buffet (maybe too short a time to talk very much) and introductions (maybe a bit too long) and Writer of the Year speech (maybe a bit too short) came the booksale. This is a great event where a book dealer comes in (this year my friends Ron and Nina Else from Who Else books in Denver) and provides each of the guest authors wiht a table and a supply of books. Attendees can talk to the authors, get books signed, and buy them that night. Very well organized and very nice both for the authors and the attendees.

Another good thing - the hospitality suite. After the evening's activities, guests and attendees can mingle with daquiris, margaritas, or other drinkables in an informal setting. Always fun to catch up with old friends and meet new.

I did two workshops, one of them my standard revision workshop, and one a new one on persona voice that I think went off very well. (Voice being "the expressive communication of fictional characters.") I can tell the attendees are comfortable with the conference format, as many seem to feel free to come up afterward and talk or comment.

I attended a couple of workshops, too, which says to me that the organizers are really trying to come up with new and interesting ideas for experienced authors as well as beginners. One workshop on promotion, given by Bella Stander, was excellent, as was another on the uses of herbs, given by Laurey Patten. There were several more I'd like to have attended, but had conflicts. Agent Kristin Nelson, of the excellent PubRants blog, gave a well-received two part workshop on queries. Fortunately I got to visit with all three of these women at other times during the weekend.

Of the various keynote speeches, I'd have to say the one from Shirley Jump was the best. Short and to the point. Well presented. Careers have ups and downs. Persist. Write.

In between all this I sat around in the nice conversation areas in the hotel, talking to all sorts of people - which is always the best.

1 comment:

Bella Stander said...

Glad you enjoyed my workshop, Carol! I had a great time hanging out with you afterward.