West Texas Trail Writers Conference

I attended an annual writer’s conference last weekend, the same one I’ve attended for the last five years.

This year, the speakers were Becka Oliver, Executive Director of the Writer’s League of Texas; WC Jameson, author of over ninety books and 1,500 articles and essays; and Lisa Wingate, author of women’s fiction, history and mystery. I don’t imagine I have seen a list of speakers who were more widely diverse.

Becka covered what to expect from agents and editors. With her vast experience, she made dealing with them sound like an everyday occurrence, maybe it would be if she were your agent. Her presentation was practical and down to earth.

WC Jameson’s presentation was a master’s class on writing. He bases his writing on treasure hunting he has done over the last three plus decades. Aside from the books he has written on treasure hunting, he has novels and stories based more or less on history. While no one can duplicate his experience, those who have the moxy can duplicate his hard work.

Then we had Lisa Wingate, award winning journalist, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of twenty-one book and magazine articles. She was a one woman tour de force of writing skill and experience, she won the day with her exposition of dramatic structure in a story. It’s the first time I’ve seen an audience almost brought to tears by someone presenting about writing. If you get the chance, go see her present.

That’s not to say that any of the others aren’t worth a second look. All three were wonderful presenters.

I came away, as I always do, fired up about continuing my writing. But the conferees were just as inspiring as the presenters.

Let me tell one story without naming names. There was a woman who had written for fifteen years. During that time, she didn’t get a second look from agents or editors. She joined a writer’s group in California and they told he her work was good. Still editors and agents didn’t respond to her.

She happened to be in a position to give an editor a ride from the airport to the conference. Along the way, a truck overturned trapping her and the editor in her car. She took the opportunity to pitch her book. The editor told her to send a proposal. She reached in the back seat and handed her one.

The next week the editor called. She wanted to publish the book she had read and wanted to see the others she had written.

She was an over-night-success… after fifteen years of hard work.

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