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  • Pulled the Trigger: Surrey International Writers’ Conference

    2011 - 09.16

    Karin is going to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC), which I think is going to turn out to be very exciting, especially now that she’s committed.  There’s lots of stuff going on that weekend, and it is a little pricey, but I think it will be worth it.

    She gets to sit down with Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette), author of Shades of Milk and Honey, and frequent contributor become co-host of the Writing Excuses podcast that we listen to.  Personally I think that’s really cool.  She’s also represented by the Donald Maass agency which is the same agency which represents* Brent Weeks (@brentweeks) who also lives in Oregon… hmmm.  Donald Maass himself will also be at SiWC.  So it’s pretty cool, or at least I think it is.

    In September, I’ll be a guest at the Surrey Writers Conference in Surrey, B.C. This is widely regarded as one of the better literary conferences for aspiring writers and I’m excited to be a part of it this year.
    – Mary Robinette Kowal, http://www.maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/surrey-writers-conference/

    Here’s another perspective:

    Granted, the chief goal of any writer should be to write for themselves, not for fame or for fortune.  Though, those are nice for those of us with crippling gambling problems and a desperate need for attention (not that I know anyone like that who is also named Sam Sykes, goodness no).  What’s even nicer, however, is the respect that comes with reaching a point where people will actually ask you for your advice on writing and not end the query with “you jackass.”

    Well, as per advice that is so unhelpful as to come from a jackass, I basically have three suggestions: get an agent, get perspective and get better.  Where does one find these, though?  Well, in consolidated form, they tend to all be present at Writer’s Conferences, which I’ve noticed are alarmingly rare.  However, they do exist, and one of them has invited me to come offer my advice to hundreds of burgeoning aspiring authors seeking a means of getting their work out there!

    The Surrey International Writer’s Conference is one I’ve been attending for several years now, back when Tome of the Undergates was but a wee Pamphlet of the Undergates and I was a wee, inexperienced writer with nary a clue as to what I was doing.  But now I am a big, experienced writer with nary a clue as to what I am doing and I can safely say that this is one of the best conferences to attend if you’re at all serious about becoming a writer.

    As they say in Quebec: por que?

    Three Reasons.

    1. Consolidated Networking (or “Dudes What You Want to Know”): SiWC (no, I don’t know why the ‘i’ is lower-case) is host to authors, editors and agents, the holy trinity of publishing, and attended by librarians, booksellers, book-buyers and, most importantly, other authors.  There is no one at this conference that you do not want to know, save for Steve who works at the front desk (you know what you did, Steve).

    2. Aggregate Accessibility (or “I saw Terry Brooks Throw Up Last Night!”): The purpose of this conference is chiefly to meet writers and drink a lot of beer.  These tend to go well together.  As a result, the professionals here are not going to wave you off or ignore you (unless they are on their way to a workshop, in which case you should not chase them down and hit them with a briefcase) and most are very open to hearing your pitch, your questions, what have you.  There’s even a few sessions of Blue Pencil designed just for that purpose!  Holy shit!

    3. KNOWLEDGE (or “BRAINMEATS”): The workshops here cover everything from plot to pacing, worldbuilding to genre influence, sex scenes to chase scenes to fight scenes to action scenes to parrot scenes.  If you have ever had a question about writing, no matter how weird you think it is, it is probably answered in a very helpful hour-long workshop.  I encourage you to attend every one that you can, as you never know what you might have needed to know until you know it!

    4. Sam Sykes Will Be There (or “You Can’t Escape Me!”):Yes, I will, in fact, be giving a workshop of my very own, entitled “The First Time Publishing Experience” on Friday at 3:00 PM.  We’ll be discussing everything a first time published author should know from networking to promotions to taking criticism and keeping motivated.  Even if you’re not published yet, it’s good advice to take, since motivation can lapse all the time!


    That was four?

    Yeah, it was!  What are you going to do about it?

    That’s what I thought, baby.

    Anyway, the Conference is coming up (next month!), so you might want to check it now if you’re at all interested!

    If you’re already signed up, though, please feel free to stop on by and learn a thing or two from me!  I can say with complete authority that I am worth listening to.

    Because I have a Presenter’s Nametag.
    – Sam Sykes, http://samsykes.com/2010/09/surrey-international-writers-conference/

    Amazing the things you can find out about something the more research you do, and the more research I do the happier I am that Karin is going!  Can’t wait to hear about how awesome it was.  I just hope she can resist the temptation to drop names of all the people she meets, unless of course Howard Taylor is there, because he’s so cool he can name drop himself. (Writing Excuses, Season 3, Episode 9-10)

    * Donald Maass also represents Jim Butcher (@longshotauthor) among others.

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    2 Responses to “Pulled the Trigger: Surrey International Writers’ Conference”

    1. Wendy says:

      Looks like you did a lot of research and the conference certainly sounds worthwhile. Telling you (and us) everything that happened will help Karin to remember all the things she learns. She’ll probably be exhausted by the Sunday night, but it will be a good exhaustion.

      • David says:

        She probably will be exhausted. In truth much of the “research” didn’t happen until after she’d already signed up. But it’s nice that the research supported that it was a good decision.

        Hopefully we’ll be able to get Karin to blog about her experiences, although my guess is that they will probably go on her official blog, instead of here.

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