Before we recount the success of the conference, The Writer’s Loft will present a 2-hour workshop on how to submit work to agents and publishers, Saturday, Nov. 2nd at Peck Hall, room 326 at MTSU from 10-12.
What a fantastic time we had at our first annual Middle Tennessee Writer’s Conference!
For all those who attended, thank you for participating. I hope that the experience will give you motivation and guidance you need to tackle your projects. For those who could not attend, please make it a point to come next year!
Enjoy our review.
We had 115 in attendance. In fact, we had to close the registration to make sure we had enough food! Write ups in The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro Magazine, 2nd and Church, The Tennessean and Chapter16.org really put the word out there.
Bill Brown started us off with practical exercises to tap into our personal history. Not only was I approached with two marriage proposals for him, but a few attendants said they came out with a start to new poems and short stories.
Alumni Jonathan Price introduced Holly Tucker. Jonathan helped put the 7 billion handouts on the tables for everyone. He also represents 1 of the 5 talented and kind alumni who introduced speakers that day: Marlene Sanders, Cathleen Reid, Kim Teter and Gregory Plemmons.
Holly Tucker gave a very helpful talk on tools she uses for writing. Not only has the director (yup, the one typing this) signed up for Scrivener software at her suggestion, but many of us are going to look into the hilarious Writer or Die application. On a side note, her boyfriend from London was with her. Simon is an editor at the BBC and left to hit up the hot chicken places in Nashville to do a BBC report. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.
Claudia Barnett engaged attendants with a discussion on dialogue. When is what we write not really what the character means? It is an advanced technique the best writers use, and now we know more about how to design dialogue to fit character’s motivations. She demonstrated her points by showing a very creepy play that haunts us still.
Linda Busby Parker brought examples of the first page of well known stories for us to analyze how and why writers create tension. Not only were we introduced to some stories we were not familiar with, but we learned the techniques that allow readers to feel and experience. I heard she said a few lovely words about one Karen Alea Ford, but, of course, she was in the bathroom.
Two poets who we wanted to recognize for their completion of the program were Walker Bass and Kelly Bills. Their mentor, Kory Wells, is center. Walker was a soldier for coming to the conference when he was recovering from surgery. We took this pic because he might not remember he was there. We look forward to seeing more poetry from both of them, and wish them luck and faith.
And to our graduate, Kimberly Cross Teter, congratulations on the completion of your middle-grade book Isabella’s Libretto. What a lovely reading. We look forward to seeing it in print, resting on our bookshelves.
Then there was Kevin Wilson. Holy Cow. What can be said? He read the most vulnerable, funny, brilliant essay many of us have ever heard. When asked where we can read it, he informed us he wrote is JUST FOR US! He will be making it available to us once he “cleans it up.”
With genuine humility, he walked us through failure and the need for discipline to get through it. One attendant said he wanted to ask everyone if anyone happened to record it because it was incredible. Sometimes, things like that are just for that moment and just for those people. It was magical. More magical than a half boy/half bear.
Although there is plenty to tweak next year, all we received were positive responses. It was a room full of open minds and humble talent. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. See you net year!