Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mini-Con for New and Emerging Writers: A Hit!

Saturday, May 6, marked the first in what is planned to be a series of events for writers, sponsored by the Desoto Writers Alliance and the M.R. Davis Public Library in Southaven, MS. It was a great day for all. The focus of this event was: Writing Your First Novel: A Min-Conference for New and Emerging Writers. And it was FREE!

I kicked it off with introductions, then a conversation with Kim Smith about ideas, beginning, starting your book. Helen Henderson picked it up with a great presentation on plotting--taking that idea and fleshing it out. Kimberely Koz showed us how to created well-developed characters.

A fabulous lunch was provided by Texas Roadhouse, Dale's Family Restaurant, and with snacks from American Wholesale Grocers (all donated). Our presenters joined the attendees for lunch and a discussion about writing groups and critique groups, where we were also joined by Vanessa VanDenBlaze.

The afternoon resumed with Wendy Strain, who talked about editing and ghostwriting. We wrapped up with a panel discussion will all the presenters, fielding questions from genre to marketing to finding a publisher.

River City Romance Writers were present to share information about their Romance Writers of America Memphis chapter, and a few participants who belong to Malice in Memphis talked about their local writers group. Writers groups are important, especially for new writers who benefit from the expertise and support of more experienced writers.

Someone asked me why we authors would volunteer to put our time and effort into a day-long event like this for free. I think I speak for my fellow authors here. A lot of people gave me a hand-up and helped me when I first started writing. They pulled me back from the ledge and steered me around many pitfalls. This is paying it forward, helping others who are starting out in their writing careers, sharing our learnings and experience and, yes, some expertise.

I want to especially thank Caroline Barnett and Zachary Clemmer from the M.R. Davis Library (part of the First Regional Library system), the Friends of the M.R. Davis Library and the volunteers, as well as the local businesses mentioned above who made the fantastic lunch possible. It was truly a collaboration and community effort. The First Regional Libraries and, especially, the M.R. Davis Southaven branch has always been welcoming and supportive to writers. They even have a special Local Authors section among their shelves. Libraries offer so much to the community, so please support your local library in any way you can.

I'm eager to review the evaluations and see where we go from here. There will be more to come.

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