Monday, April 05, 2010

Conferences and Jealousy – Dawson

(The following is a guest post by Donna Fawcett writing as Donna Dawson. Donna is a writing instructor at Fanshawe College, London, Ontario, an author of two-category award winning novel, Vengeance, and four other books. You can find her at her website, )

He's crying again. Sigh. Duke seems to be in a perpetual state of emotional upheaval these days. And this time I can't console him. I do feel pity for him, however. The Write!Canada conference grounds clearly specifies 'no pets allowed'--at least it did last year. Why should Duke care? It certainly isn't because of his dependence on a relationship with me, his not-so-compassionate neighbour. It's because Duke wants to go enjoy the benefits of the conference--plain and simple.

Duke has come to understand what too many writers don't--that a conference for writers is the place to be. Why? Easy--it's the one place where we are on even ground with editors, agents, publishers and marketers. They are at our beck and call--to a very small degree--because we have paid an entry fee to meet with them and pry their wisdom from them. Duke knows this and wants a piece of it. He wants to shamelessly flog his manuscript. You know--the one that was rejected? He has polished and hacked out and modified the poor thing and now feels it is ready. And he is quite snippy with me at the moment because he feels I have the extra advantage. I am a biped and therefore qualify to gain entrance into Write!Canada. He is a quadruped (albeit a rather short and feisty one) and is, therefore, excluded via the 'no pets' rule. He offered to go as my Seeing Eye dog. And when I told him I see perfectly fine, he offered to poke out my eyes so he could be a Seeing Eye dog. I politely (and a bit heatedly) declined the offer. I haven't made matters any better by perusing through the registration package I downloaded and printed while he sits here and pines away.

Not only do I have the opportunity to rub shoulders with agents and editors, but for three whole days I will be up to my eyeballs in subjects such as 'Techniques of Writing Fiction that will sell' by Michelle Buckman, to 'Eight Step Editing' by Jim Taylor, to 'Why you Need a Literary Agent' by Kelly Mortimer and on and on and on. There's a plenary or three with Joel Freeman. Duke's heard of Joel Freeman. He knows that Dr. Freeman, the author of If Nobody Loves You, Create The Demand, holds a long list of accomplishments from being on the 'Who's Who in the World' list to being the veteran mentor/chaplain for NBA’s Washington Bullets / Wizards. And much more. Duke is literally chewing his claws as he reads the rundown on the list of speakers. I've told him that I'm even going for a professional make-over by Image Consultant Diane Callendar. While he has managed to hold his tongue, the look on Duke's face clearly says 'It's about time. You look like a bag lady.' I choose to ignore the slight and chalk it up to pure jealousy.

It is in this kind of quality event that many writers find their break. When they just can't seem to get past the lower level editors of a publishing house, they can come to a conference and maybe--just maybe--catch the eye of that one editor who will go to bat for them. They can reconnect with other writers. They can find out exactly why that 'wonderful manuscript' just seems to be lacking the pizazz needed to get published. They can learn anything from the basics of writing to the complex technical side of the literary world.

I tell any writer that if they are serious about their craft then they should consider attending a writer's conference.

Now Duke, if you don't mind, please do stop blubbering and let me get on with making my conference course selections. And stop trying to eat the registration packet.


Peter Black said...

Perhaps old Dukey could spare an extra squeeze of liquified saline from the ducts of his bulbous viewers, as I too will miss another Write! Canada conference, this year.
And more seriously, Donna, thanks for sharing such helpful hints via his Duchyship.

Glynis said...

Sit Duke, sit! Clever. Duke will be sorely missed I am sure! A nifty way to share the pure benefits and bonuses of attending a writer's conference. Good job once again, Donna!

violet said...

Oh Duke, I'm joining you in your tears. I'm not going either. Maybe next year.

Popular Posts