Monday, September 22, 2014

Hampton Roads Writers 6th Annual Conference

The Hampton Roads Writers held their 6th Annual Writers Conference on September 18th, 19th and 20th at the Westin Hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The conference offered a wide variety of workshops and presentations designed to assist writers in honing their craft and providing them valuable insights into the business of publishing. Keynote addresses by Janet Burroway and Brad Parks provided plenty of inspiration and humor to both aspiring and published authors present.

The conference opened both full days (Friday and Saturday) with First Ten Lines Critique Sessions, where the agents and publishers in attendance offered feedback on the first ten lines of works that had been submitted in advance. This is always a popular event at the conference, giving those in attendance practical advice on how to craft an opening that will get the attention of an agent. Each day offered an array of workshops covering diverse topics on the creative process, marketing and publicity, and the business of being a successful author. Workshops that I found particularly enlightening included Anatomy of a Successful Query, Building Your Kindle eBook, Maximize Your Twitter Platform, Where the Wild Things Are: Getting to the Story (Plot), and Welcome to the Woodshed: Getting Serious About Writing. For writers with complete manuscripts, there were half a dozen agents and publishers on hand to receive 10-minute pitches of their books.

Hampton Roads Writers have consistently produced high quality, informative and entertaining conferences over the last six years. The writers, agents and other presenters offered valuable expert advice in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. The conference is always well organized and from a participant’s point of view seems to run smoothly. My only complaint was the lack of screens in the workshop rooms (some of the Power Point presentations suffered for this). It was also difficult to choose between the many workshop topics available. There were so many great choices, but I could only be in one room at a time. Still, it was a great conference and I look forward to attending again in the future.

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