I came home from Colorado two years ago and had no reservations telling the world that my life had changed forever. It was the first time I attended the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference and I was blown away. And I don’t mean by that merciless Colorado wind, either.
I had never attended anything like it. The sessions were so informative, the people so friendly, the seemingly unlimited amount of writing-related topics…I was in heaven. I remember walking around having drinks with other writers and just taking in the atmosphere, nearly crying I was so happy to just be there.
Anyhow, we loaded up the minivan with a week’s worth of clothing, toys, food, and DVDs and hit the road to attended the conference again this year. (Oh, and kudos to my wife for braving the mean streets of Denver by herself with our three little ones for a couple of days while I was at the conference.)
So how did this year measure up to 2014? I’d say it was about the same. I didn’t experience the initial shock of the even that I did last time, but the sessions were just as good. I am in a much different place as a writer than I was two years ago as well, so I went there seeking connections and opportunities more than knowledge this time around. But I’m happy to say I found both.
Here’s a list of the sessions I attended:
- Creating Characters With Depth
- Showing, Not Telling
- How to Hand-Sell Your Book
- Make Your Readers Your Marketers
- YA / TEEN Discussion Group
- Writing Authentic African-American Characters
- HORROR Discussion Group
- Agents & Editors Panel
- Understanding & Developing Goal, Motivation, and Conflict in Your YA Novel
- Podcasting 101
- FANTASY Discussion Group
- You, as Writer, as a Business: Establishing Yourself in the Eyes of the IRS (part 1 & 2)
As you can see, there was quite the variety. I even skipped a few of the slots to pitch my novel. And speaking of the pitch session, in 2014, I was nervous. Holy crap was I nervous. But you know what? That helped me prepare better. That year I brought Holy Fudgesicles to the pitch session. I did okay, and the agent did ask for pages. She turned it down in the end, but that’s part of the game.
This year, however, I brought my next book, and even though I spent of ton of time “getting it ready” for the conference, it wasn’t ready. The agent I pitched it to could tell that right away too. The biggest problem isn’t the plot or the narrative (although it is way more difficult to pitch a novel with multiple POV characters), but the word count. For the genre it’s in, I still need another 15,000-25,000 words. So I still have some work to do.
But to get back to Holy Fudgesicles for a second…In 2014, I attended a 4-hour class on what your first twenty-five pages should look like by Sharon Mignerey. I was also fortunate enough to have an awesome chat with Bonnie Ramthun the night before pitching the novel. I have no doubt that both Sharon and Bonnie were instrumental in helping me get Holy Fudgesicles published, and this year I got to personally thank both of them for teaching me so much two years ago. That alone made the trip worthwhile, and it goes to show, that not matter how successful a writer gets, they have no trouble at all sharing what they know with those of us who aren’t quite there yet.
So in closing, if you’re a writer at any level and anywhere near the Denver area I couldn’t recommend this conference more. You really have to attend it at least one time. You won’t regret it a bit.
And with that said, now back to writing.