It’s been six days since Conflux 11 finished and it’s funny the ‘down’ you get after such an event. Over the next few weeks and months there are several more writer conferences in Australia including the Sydney Writers Freecon 6-8 Nov, GenreCon 30 Oct to 1 Nov, SuperNova 24-29 Nov to name just a few. For the full listing see Events at http://www.cannedgeek.com.
As a writer it is very tempting to go to more of these conferences just for being amongst those who think and have fun like you do. However, the cost, particularly of travel, can be prohibitive. But it’s oh so tempting. It’s a pity that those I really want to go to, those named above, are all so close together. I guess it will take some planning but GenreCon or SuperNova for 2016 might be on the cards for me.
The other thing that these Cons engender is renewed energy to write. Several of my friends who attended are also writing madly at the moment. With NaNoWriMo coming up, I can see several great stories coming out of Conflux alone.
Even I have been working on what started out as a short story and is turning into a Novella. The writing mojo seems to be revved up and running and that makes me happy. Added to that I have a few weeks where there are no visitors to Chez Sheely and no part-time work at the moment so plenty of time to get the fingers flying over the keyboard.
It’s Sunday but I decided after several weeks of neglect, the housework needed doing. As I cleaned toilets, bathrooms and laundry, dusted and wiped down cupboards etc I got a great idea for progressing my novella – adding in an additional plot line to make one part of the story much more interesting.
So I get creative ideas while doing housework. Hmmm. That could end up with an overly clean house if I keep it up *chuckle*. But I don’t think my husband would mind much. Other writers I spoke to over the previous weekend used showers, swims and running to get the mind woken up and plotting. Seems just sitting at the keyboard can be detrimental to creativity.
And then there is the plotting – to plot or not to plot – that is the question (to hijack Shakespeare). Most writers agree that you need to know where your story is heading or ending to write. I couldn’t disagree with that. But how to get from beginning to end seems to be what suits each writer. Some undertake detailed plotting with each chapter and scene dealt with before writing starts. Others undertake a synopsis that provides the overall direction of the plot but leaves the freedom to move as the characters develop – updating the synopsis as you go. I may add, that’s probably what I do and thanks to Marisol Dunham, writing as M.A. Dunham, who did a great workshop on that at Conflux. Then there are those who simply sit down and let it happen.
All through the past ten years as I’ve been learning the craft of writing, there have been a lot of times when the advise is that you must plot. That’s great advice. But it seems overall, that it is really each individual writer’s own process that needs to be developed. You take in all the advice, structure, world-building, character development and so on, and then incorporate it into the way you, as a writer, work best.
So in general it is very much worth going to Cons and workshops and listening and learning from experienced and published authors, editors and publishers. The more you hear and take in, the more you begin to work out your own process. Advice is good, practice and writing and getting out there with your stories at critique groups. writers groups and submissions, is even better.
To me, writers conferences have two influences; the first is learning about other people’s processes and working out your own and the second, and to me the most important, is the energy to keep going and get creative.