When I knew I was going to LA I looked around for a writers meeting or conference of some kind so I could connect with other writers while I was there. A busman’s holiday but it’s my favourite thing to do! I found a great organisation called the Greater Los Angeles Writers or GLAWS and saw that their genre conference happened during my stay. Not only that but it as at the LA Valley College in the San Fernando Valley that is about a mile from where I was staying! Walkable and in fact I did walk it one of the days 🙂 Yeah I’m then weird Brit who walked!
However, the conference was one on memoir so I contacted the organisers to see how relevant that might be for a fiction writer, even though I have edited memoir. Tony Todaro came back with a great email saying there would be fiction writers and I was most welcome… so I booked it. Tony Todaro runs GLAWS and then befriended me on Facebook. We are now connected.
I remember the first day of the course, arriving early and sitting talking to some other writers and editors. I never felt nervous, just happy and this is someone who as a child always got scared of new situations. But when it comes to all things writing it’s like I must be on the right path because all I feel is happy — and excited 🙂
Later I will tell you about some of the writers, editors and teachers I met and about some of their books I bought, but for now just an overview.
There were three basic tracks you could follow through the weekend, but you could change lanes and attend any of the events, so there were those for beginners that focussed more on how to write your story and what kinds of things you need to think about, legal issues also come into writing a memoir. There were tracks for the more advanced writers: about what to do when you have your ms, editing, subbing and there were agents there, oh and publicising your work, being in the media’s eye etc. And there was a track that dealt with adaptation to screenplay and what makes the best stories and I did a few of these. I also enjoyed the talks on how we use fictional writing skills in memoir writing and went to a class on ghost writing too. While I do not choose to do this normally, I am actually working with someone (from the TV) who I know well, on such a project.
What reassured me, above all else from this conference, was how all the advice I give my clients, about writing in general but also memoir is the same and correct and so most of what I heard was a confirmation 🙂
For me it was about the people I met more than anything but of course you always learn new things; I gave away some copies of my novel as well to people involved with screenplays and it has whetted my appetite to do a screenwriting course in 2016.
So while I stopped attending so many writers conferences like this in the UK once I felt all I really needed to do now was write, they do always teach you something new. I was asked by Tony if I would like to be one of the speakers next time so I am really hoping to go to LA next November and do just that.
So as this week goes on I will share some of things I learned in some of the talks as I think all information is helpful and I will tell you about some of the books I bought. Me buy books? Yeah funny that!
So for now I will post some photos of the college and some of the sessions.
Oh and news just in is that my lovely agent Becky Thomas has now moved to the larger literary agency Johnson & Alcock and taken me with her! At the moment she has 85 manuscripts to read, including the opening of my new one so I think it will be a while before we know if it’s a goer. I think if there is one lesson about being a writer, it’s this: have patience.
Enjoy the day folks!
Genre-LA Writers Conference, October 23–25 2015
LA Valley College as I arrived for class!
Keynote speaker: Diana von Welanetz Wentworth who wrote Send Me Someone