My First Writers’ Conference

This past weekend I attended the James River Writers Conference. It was a weekend-long event, but I was able to attend only on Sunday. Even so, this one day was enough for me to learn, get encouraged, and whet my appetite for other writers’ conferences in the future.

The event that I think I learned the most from was the First Pages workshop. During First Pages, selected works were read aloud – but only the first page. The panel of agents and editors then gave their feedback on what worked and what didn’t. I took a lot of notes. I want to be able to hook my readers right from the first page!

I think I enjoyed the Plotters versus Pantser panel the most. Four authors shared their writing techniques, and whether they tend to plot out a story in detail beforehand, or just write from the seat of their pants. The answers were actually mixed from all four authors. It seems like even the best pantser needs to have an outline and story structure going in, and the most die-hard plotter needs to leave room for creativity and organic storytelling. This was refreshing to me, since I call myself a plotter but often find that my outlines are woefully incomplete.

All in all, I had a great time at the conference. Even though I attend other smaller James River Writers events throughout the year, it was encouraging to see so many writers from so many different places all together. Published or still amateurs, fantasy writers and essayists – at the heart, we are all writers, and were there for the common purpose of improving our craft.

I will definitely go back next year, and I also look forward to attending some other writers’ conferences in other places very soon!

An artist illustrated the First Pages workshop. Fascinating idea, and so talented!

An artist illustrated the First Pages workshop. Fascinating idea, and so talented!



10 thoughts on “My First Writers’ Conference

  1. It was a pleasure to meet you the other day! Thanks for your wealth of knowledge, i feel like you are a lighting the way for me to join in the writer’s life i have always longed for….you inspire me and thanks for your genuine encouragement! Hope to see you at future conferences!


    • Hi, Donna! Thanks for visiting my blog and reconnecting! 🙂 Be sure to click the link for James River Writers in this post – that way you can find out all about the various writerly events that are happening all around the area. 🙂 Hope to see you at one soon!


  2. Great post! I’ve heard the same things at a couple of conferences/workshops that I’ve been to. I’m definitely a plotter, but there are still times when I discover that my outline is falling short. It’s a great benefit to be able to write in both fashions, though sometimes it can take a lot of discipline.


  3. Great blog about JRW. I enjoyed Sunday as well. My first page was read which totally surprised me. It was my first conference but I learned a lot. Plotters v Pantsers was extremely helpful to me as well.


  4. That’s awesome! I know for sure I was a Pantser person when I first started the series, but soon turned into a Plotter due to knowing where I wanted to take the next book. Short stories are my Pantser favs at the moment 😉


  5. Pingback: On Writers Conferences and Book Fairs | StorytellerGirl

  6. Pingback: The Value of Attending a Writers’ Conference | StorytellerGirl

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