I’m back from WriteOnCon, which sounds a strange thing to say since a) WriteOnCon finished last Wednesday, and b) I didn’t actually have to physically go anywhere to attend. However, aside from yesterday’s devotional, this is my first blog post since WriteOnCon. And while the conference finished Wednesday, the forums were open all week (and they’re still open, but not as active, and without Ninja Agents dropping in). So I thought I’d give you a quick report, but to make it fun I thought I’d do a self-interview. Why a self-interview? Because I’m not important enough for anyone else to interview me, so I’m going to pose myself questions and answer them.
Hello, Colin. How are you?
Very well, thank you Colin. Okay, stop being weird and get on with this self-interview.
Sorry. So, how did you find WriteOnCon 2013?
By going to www.writeoncon.com.
Very funny. I see you’re not going to make this easy are you…
Oh, alright. Overall, it was great. Lots of articles posted, some interesting vlog posts from writers, and, of course, LOTS of forum activity with hundreds of queries and first pages posted. Some of them were jaw-droppingly excellent, and I expect to see published.
What was the best thing about this year’s WriteOnCon?
Definitely the Google Hangouts. This year, they had agents and editors responding to Twitter pitches and first-pages. Instead of using chat rooms for these, however, they set up Google Hangouts, so you could actually see the people responding real-time. One of the WOC admins moderated by selecting the Tweet/page, reading it, and then letting the agent/editor respond. While there were a few technical difficulties, overall this gave a much more real-time, “being there” feel to the events. I hope next year they’ll utilize Google Hangouts even more, perhaps with Q&A sessions, and even some of the presentations.
What was the worst thing?
Chat room Q&A. The chats themselves were great, but I really don’t like the chat room format for these. Response time depends so much on one’s ability to type, and that’s not fair since not everyone is a speedy typer. This is why the Hangouts are far better–a lot more real-time, interactive. Thankfully, it seems the WOC admins agree with me, and they’re looking into using Hangouts more next year.
Did you have anything to submit to the forums?
Although I didn’t finish my first round of edits for my novel, I polished up the first 5 pages to submit for feedback. I also revised the query and posted that. Since I’m not ready to query this novel, my objective with the query was to see whether people liked the concept, and might be willing to read the novel. What I wanted more than anything, though, was feedback on the pages. If you’re a regular to the blog, you’ll know how I’ve griped and complained about the woes of trying to write a first-person account in the voice of a teenage female alien. This was an opportunity to see how well I’m doing with that.
And…? What was the reaction?
I didn’t get any Ninja Agent bites, but that’s okay. I’m curious whether this was because the title didn’t appeal, or because I listed it as “Sci-Fi/Historical” and none of them wanted to touch that… or perhaps they just didn’t get to it. That would be useful to know for when I do query it. However, I received generally positive reactions to the query, along with great suggestions for strengthening it. So I’m now in the very strange position of having a good query letter for a novel I’m not yet ready to query!
The reactions to the pages were quite encouraging, too. For the most part, they found the voice entertaining, readable, and largely understandable. Some suggested I back off a little from the alien language at the beginning to help the reader acclimate to it, and perhaps add some indicators as to where the opening scene takes place. Both excellent suggestions I plan to implement.
Would you still recommend WriteOnCon?
Absolutely. This is about as good as writing conferences get without paying any money, or having to travel anywhere. And for that, it’s pretty awesome! And next year looks like being even better, so plan to attend!
Oh, stop it! Next time I’m getting Conan O’Brien to do this…
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