We writers are faced with all kinds of decisions when it comes to our writing. Should we write longhand or on computer? If on the computer, which writing program should we use? Scrivener? Liquid Story Binder? YWriter? A simple text document? There’s so many out there and I’m sad to admit that I’m guilty of trying them all out before I finally settled on one.
And then there are the conferences. Which one should we go to? A few of the big ones are Thrillerfest, Romance Writers of America, Maui Writer’s Conference. We writers most likely still have a day job so the big question is can we even take time off to go to one of these? And if we can, do we actually have the money to sink into airfare, hotel, and food for the conference? And what about that book table? There’s always a book table, maybe more than one, chock full of those lovelies and they’re singing our siren song. We’re suckers for that you know and if we could, we’d buy up a copy of every single book sitting there.
I’m here to tell you that as far as writing conferences go, there’s a new option that’s much kinder to the pocketbook than what we’ve ever seen before.
Introducing WANA International’s WANACon, earth’s first digital writing conference.
What, you say? A digital writing conference? I say why not. We now live in a digital world so why not a digital writing conference?
WANA stands for We Are Not Alone and this past Friday and Saturday was the second WANACon ever. The first was back in February and the differences between the two are already remarkable. In February there was only one virtual “classroom” where authors gave their presentations, which are akin to webinars. This time there were two and they were full all day, both days.
I believe in this. I really really believe in this and because of that I volunteered to be a class moderator.
The caliber of the presenters this time around was incredible. David Corbett gave the keynote on both days. Les Edgerton talked about story openings and how to nail them. Reavis Z. Wortham talked about voice, action and dialogue. Allison Brennan talked about villains. Kristen Lamb gave a presentation called Killing Little Darlings with Ruthless Efficiency (a talk focusing on the author’s vanity, the love of their own words and how there’s no place for that if we’re really serious about our writing). Jami Gold gave great words on beat sheets and knowing the story’s structure and Kevin Lucia gave not one but two presentations on writing horror. And this was just the fiction side of writing.
Does this sound suspiciously similar to a traditional writing conference? Good. Because from what I could tell that was the desire of the organizers.
For those of you nonfiction writers, Amy Shojai talked about creating winning nonfiction proposals.
There were also classes on using Facebook, another on Google+, how to make our website work for us and even one about Amazon’s CreateSpace.
On the business side, there was a class on publishing contract pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Whew. I’m pooped and my brain is fried.
Being an artist is a lonely profession. We tend to be introverts yet we need our community to helps us along. We hanker for assurances that we really are not alone so this is actually real good for us.
Of course conventions like this will never replace those in real time but they do provide some very real advantages. No large expenses, you get to stay in your home and close to your families, and can even stay in your ‘jammies if you’re so inclined.
The next WANACon is the weekend of February 21. Come and check it out. It might just be just the thing you’re looking for.