SDSU Writer’s Conference: The Secret of Writing

It has been four years since I last visited this conference. Despite being a San Diego native, I had plenty of growth as a writer to accomplish before revisiting this event. In 2008, I had written several novels, but had no support group. Immediately after my first conference, I knew that it would be a learning experience. Afterward, I joined two excellent critique groups, rewrote my novel, and then finished another. In short, I went from wannabe writer to accomplished writer.

Even though I have a book published, along with several short stories, I still haven’t hit it big with the novel. That is my goal, along with the many other attendees this weekend. The golden prize. Yet, four years ago, this was my one and only goal. Since then, I heed some great advice I read from Harlan Ellison interview.

There is only one secret, and the secret is this: Anybody can become a writer. The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer. Day after month after year after story after book. That’s the secret. And if you can do that and produce a body of work, no matter how large or small it is, that is true and can pull the plow, then you’re a writer. If you are not prepared to spend your life doing that, then, for christsake, don’t do it.

So what do I intend to take from the SDSU Writer’s Conference? Information, mostly. I intend to listen closely to the agents, editors, publishers, and writers there. There are several workshops on eBooks and self publishing, which I can see will play an important part to the future of writing and publishing. I’m also at the crucial first stages of a new novel, and that means my brain is perched on a precipice. A push in the right direction can lead to a awesome slide through 70,000 words of prose.

Here are the courses I see as the most intriguing. Obviously I can’t be several places at once. I plan to tweet on what I see and hear. I was surprised that there was no official hashtag for the conference. I created #sdsuwc to fill the void. Also, I was shocked at how few people were tweeting. Writers as a whole are attached to twitter the way most artists cling to alcohol. My only guess is that most of the attendees haven’t realized that tweeting is an effective marketing tool. (These are the workshops I feel I don’t need, but I’m sure they’re quite good).


9:30 – 10:20

Establish A Pattern, Then Twist It by Yvonne Nelson Perry
I’m always interested in plot structure and how to twist it. Should make a good workshop.

10:30 – 11:20

Genius Plotting I by Louella Nelson
Again, you can see I’m drawn to structure.

Self Publishing–A New Gateway to Success by M. Louisa Locke
Curious about the options and taboos of the new eBook process.

1:00 – 1:50

No Sag Structure by Q Lindsey Barrett
Yes, I’m obsessed with structure.

Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt
This is a weak spot for me, so I’d like to learn how to polish it up.

2:00 – 2:50

Fiction is Written in Scenes by Yvonne Nelson Perry
I’m a big fan of Goal, Conflict, Disaster, which breaks writing into scenes. Curious about Perry’s take.

X-Ray Your Plot—Make Sure Your Structure is Sound by Angela Hunt
Okay, maybe I picked too many of these types of workshops. I know I can’t go to all of them.

3:00 – 3:50

Genius Plotting II by Louella Nelson
In case I miss the first one.

Self Publishing–Eight Tips on Selling eBooks on Amazon by M. Louisa Locke
Could be a rehash of the previous workshop, but I’ll need to attend at least one of the self publishing sessions.

4:00 – 4:50

ePublishing, POD, and the Future of Publishing for the Writer  by Bob Mayer
This looks like it’s chock full of good information.


10:00 – 10:50

Short Cuts to Deep Characterization by Angela Hunt
I want to focus on building deeper and more well rounded characters. Every little bit helps.

11:00 – 11:50

Beyond the eBook Uploaded — How Do You Sell It by Bob Mayer
Marketing is the key. Looking forward to this one.

1:00 – 1:50

Layered, Nuanced, Original: Crafting Characters by Q Lindsey Barrett
This sounds like it’s right up my alley.

Those are my picks. If I see you there, don’t be afraid to say hi.

Tim Kane

2 comments on “SDSU Writer’s Conference: The Secret of Writing

  1. Julie says:

    Man, that looks awesome. I’m toying with attending my first conference, a local one called VCon, in September, but I’m still not entirely sure if I’m ready for the experience. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes and what you find you get out of it. Btw, love that quote. Totally awesome.

  2. Angela Hunt says:

    I hope you come to my “plot skeleton” class. 🙂 I think you’d find it helpful. Hope to see you there!

Leave a Reply to JulieCancel reply