Thursday, September 4, 2008

Freight Train Bearing Down

The American Christian Fiction Writers’ annual conference was a long way off when I first wrote about it back in May (“Minneapolis Writers’ Conference” and “Learning Craft at a Conference”). Those blogs are in the Archives down the right side of this site; click on the little triangle beside May.

Now the conference is bearing down on us like the proverbial freight train. An endless number of messages have gone back and forth, forums have been buzzing, and advice—good advice—has been available on every side. Everyone is talking about one sheets, pitches, and appointment etiquette, not to mention clothes, business cards, and a lot more.

To get to the conference, I’ll be traveling with two ladies from my local writer’s group and sharing a hotel room with them. Two weeks from now, on Wednesday the 17th, we’ll be on the road all day, getting as close to Minneapolis as we can, then finishing up the next day.

The conference starts on Thursday afternoon with a special session for first timers, otherwise known as newbies. Then we’ll have the first of three keynote addresses by Angela Hunt. There will be panels to introduce the agents and editors who have come to the conference. Part of the evening program is worship and devotions, and at the end of the evening, the first round of late-night chats. The next morning we’ll begin with the classes, and in the afternoon the workshops.

Volunteers do a lot to make the conference run smoothly. Some time ago, a call went out for volunteers to introduce the presenters at each class and workshop, and I jumped in. I got my assignments this week, and I am delighted. I’m going to get to introduce an author who helped me a huge amount with one aspect of my writing—Susan May Warren. I haven’t met her in person yet, but her first book in the Noble Legacy series, Reclaiming Nick, helped me see the way to do “back story,” compared to all the advice I had previously heard on how not to do it. I hope one of these days to tell you more about it. Of course I’m going take along Nick and the one about his brother, Rafe, and get them signed . (Lord, will I ever get to sign books for folks?)

I’ve also been assigned to introduce Gail Gaymer Martin, the teacher for the Level 2 Continuing Education class I’ll be taking. In ten years of writing, Gail has signed forty fiction contracts and has more than two and a half million books in print. I’m looking forward to learning a lot from her.

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