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Sunday, 7 March 2010

Writing Industries Conference 2010

Yesterday I went to my first Writing Industries Conference, and if I had any expectations beforehand, I can report here and now that they were very definitely exceeded. What a fabulous event for writers. Much of the credit must go to Loughborough University and Writing East Midlands. In particular, Damien Walters who worked hard to make the day a success. I know how much goes on behind the scenes to make these events happen. So to you and your team Damien, many thanks for such a great day out.

I arrived at 9.30am with my writing buddies, and already we could feel the buzz of enthusiasm in the main foyer as we joined the queues of eager wordsmiths. All waiting to receive goodie bags and our agenda for the day ahead.

Graham Joyce gave us a brilliant keynote speech to begin, all about the new technologies which will affect us as writers. He spoke fondly of the book as a Tardis, bigger on the inside than on the outside, with the ability to take you anywhere. With true affection for the printed page Graham went onto tell us that we would all have to “face up or fossilise” because the digital age is here.

As we listened eagerly it became clear that an industrious writer willing to diversify could do well, and that there are opportunities out there all around us. I wanted to know more.

I learnt about the array of possibilities open to writers everywhere. Apart from writing a novel on the page, we should be open to other outlets for our creativity. Digital streaming and downloading onto e readers like the Kindle is going to be big. Something we should perhaps try ourselves. What about teaching others the writing craft? Performing our stories, going into schools to talk to pupils, or giving after dinner speeches, all these things are other income streams for the writer. Non- fiction, screen development, online drama, and computer games all need writers. Graham concluded by telling us that “diversifying is not just about making money, it is so they don’t break your writers heart.” I couldn’t agree more.

I managed to get along to hear some of the panels, although I understand I might be able to listen to those I missed via podcasts sometime soon. Those I attended before lunch included How to Sell Your Script and See It Produced, and Writing in the Digital Era:Telling Stories that Fight Back.

Eating was a hurried affair, many freindships were renewed and new ones formed as writers came together to grab snacks, swap ideas, update each other on projects or just to generally chat about their love of the craft.

After lunch I went along to Breaking into Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror and Traditional Romance vs Paranormal Romance. As you can see there was much on offer. A lot to take in between caffiene breaks. I didn't make it to any of the workshops, there simply wasn't enough time.

An enjoyable day.