I actually did attend several workshops and learned a great deal of useful information. There were a variety of panelists ranging from best-selling authors to artists and even ghost hunters. Some highlights for me were listening to the podcast Writing Excuses by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Taylor, and special guest James Dashner. It's a fifteen minute writing podcast that is entertaining AND useful (it reminded me of my husband, funny and useful). *Note to self: writing can be funny and useful, not just people.*
I also loved the keynote address. Brandon Sanderson was inspiring! I wish I could have recorded what he said, but Jenn did a great job of restating it on her blog, so I'll let you read it there. Suffice it to say that I got goosebumps a few times. It was like a big pep rally for writers of speculative fiction. So awesome. I felt like standing up afterward and turning to the audience and saying, "I love all of you people," and then turning to the attendee who was snorting and making other wet sounds behind me and pointing at him and saying, "even you." There was that much good feeling in the room. I am also that cheesy.
Another highlight was meeting the authors at book signings, readings, and just around the conference. I was so impressed with how generous they were with their time. I just have to put a plug in here for a couple of my favorite books.
The Maze Runner
by James Dashner (who was hilarious and so nice)
For the past several months I'd heard the buzz surrounding this book, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I got the chance to read it. I was not disappointed. In fact, I read it in one day, staying up until the early morning hours to finish. I had to know what was going to happen. I think this is because Dashner is a master at pacing and hooks. His book is a true page turner. At one point during the conference, after he had finished reading two chapters for the sequel, The Scorch Trials (aren't you jealous!), he mentioned that The Maze Runner is more than 100K words. We were all shocked. It just flew by. I think that speaks to the the authors story, but also to his technique, which he was kind enough to share elements of during the podcast. I highly suggest you listen to it.
I also highly suggest you buy the book. What are you waiting for? Go now.
Maybe I'll save my next book review until next week. I also want to talk about the aspiring authors I met who were so wonderful. I think this blog post is probably long enough, and I've decided to adopt the Writing Excuses podcast philosophy of keeping it short because, as they say, "You're in a hurry, and [I'm] not that smart."
Next week: Fablehaven (I may even draw)