TRAVEL HERE: DFW WRITER’S CONFERENCE The DFW Writers’ Conference has a lot more than great classes. There are luncheons, networking and of course, The Gong Show. The Rest of the Story The evening before the conference, after my first vounteering stint, I attended a little soiree for members of DFWWW and the VIP’s. I didn’t have my big-girl-networking-panties on yet, so I didn’t get much networking done, but I was better at it by the time the conference was over. I missed the Opening Remarks the next morning, because I was still volunteering out in the foyer. That meant I also missed the first hour of classes. At ten I tried to get into Chantelle Ozman’s “Quick Pitch” class, but it was full. I’d met her the night before and wanted to hear what she had to say about pitches. Too bad for me. After the classes were over, I walked over to Abuelo’s to have some dinner. I was at a table alone when Nan Amir recognized me as a conference attendee – like because I had on the badge. We, of course, started talking about the conference and I got the equivalent of a free consultation by a very savvy writing coach. Though it was not on the agenda, it was by far one of the most valuable sessions I attended at the conference. To supplement what I learned, I later picked up two of her books, How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual. I’m looking forward to reading them. If she can impart so much information over dinner, I can only imagine what kind of goodies are in the books. After dinner, we returned to the conference cent for the now-famous Gong Show. That’s when a group of editors with gongs listen to query letters being read anonymouslyand bang their gong at the point they’d hit the reject button. Here’s my notes: What they didn’t like: • too stylized • laughing for all the wrong reasons • first person • cliche “man becomes monster” • too many ghosts, demoness, heaven & angels • magical objects or artifacts • toddler with an uzzi • boading school, “The One”, expected direction • mermaids • too much in the soup • far fetched plot motivation • oversell • build-up of phrases, conversational • cliches Things they did like: • the concept of “Watchers” in a YA dystopian future • Art Pirates • Paranomal Volleyball Team • Diversity, if done right Lunch on Sunday was a Networking Lunch where the writers were supposed to select a table based on our genre and agents were supposed to come by and visit. There’s that old genre thing again. There was no general or commercial fiction table. I got as close as I could by selecting women’s fiction, but for most of the time, all we had was an agent who’d already rejected me. I didn’t win a door prize either. Not my favorite meal. Then there were the vendors. I felt good buying a cool quilted shoulder bag from Rapha House, because they fight sex traffiking. I bought a cover for small legal pads from a vendor who uses fabrics woven in jungles of Guatemala by natives my husband helped by building wood stoves. That vendor didn’t have marketing materials and I forgot to ask who she was. My friend Tui Snider was selling her travel guide, Unexpected Texas – a book I love. Then I found two other books that I ate up like candy. One was I Once Knew Vincent by Michelle Renee. The other was Heather Webb’s Becoming Josephine, which I’ve already mentioned. And now, I’ve probably told you more than you were interested in the DFW Writer’s Conference – unless you’re a writer. Next week, I’ll begin a series on a my latest trip to California. You’ll want to read about it!