"Best of Con" sounds like a rad Star Trek movie title, right?

Hey gang!  I know many of you participated in this weeks 2nd Annual Freaking-Awesome-FREE-Web-Writing-Conference-Supreme-Event, WriteOnCon.  How do I know?  Because I saw half of you poking around the live chats, and many of you said 'hello' to me on Twitter!  (Super cool of you, btw.)

At any rate, I thought a few of you might have missed out and I wanted to do you a solid.  While you can certainly mosey on over to the WriteOnCon website and look through all three days worth of awesome content at your leisure (they keep it all on the site), there's a ton of stuff to go through.  So much, in fact, that it might take you three whole days to see/read it all.

Like all conferences, I found there to be many useful sessions, but also a few (very few) that were less useful.  As such I've decided to pass on my 5 favorites to ease your already taxed schedule.  Keep in mind that these are just my favorites (I've been through everything at the Con).  There are dozens of great things I've not mentioned, so I'd recommend checking it out for yourself because, as they say, your mileage may vary.

5. PICK UP THE PACE - Author Tara Hudson offers up some straightforward tips and thoughts on story pacing.  She also discusses her revision process, which I found very informative as well.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Tara is from my home state of Oklahoma.  WINNING! Seriously, if you've ever needed a pointblank overview and understanding of what pacing is and why it works/doesn't, this is it.

QUOTE OF NOTE:  "A compelling story, relatable characters, and a bewitching voice definitely don’t hurt a book. But the thing that will make your reader say “one more chapter” at 2 a.m. is pacing. It is your novel’s balance of description and dialogue, of back story and back-breaking action"

4. SPEAKING OF REVISION: Author Carrie Ryan explains why revision is your friend.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Carrie is very convincing when she says she was someone who originally hated doing revisions.  If you've been in that boat, or if you're looking for a new way of getting it done, Carrie's got you covered.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "--some of the scenes I’d detested while drafting actually came out better than I expected and this taught me to push through the hard writing days because either (a) the writing isn’t as bad as you think or (b) you can fix it later."

3. TRADITIONAL VS SELF-PUBLISHING - AN AGENT'S TAKE: In a live chat, literary agent Sara Megibow weighs the pro/con of going it alone electronically or shacking up with a paper publisher.  The link will take you to an area where you 'replay' the chat and read all of the comments.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: This is a very touchy topic among writers, publishing business folks, agents, etc. and you just don't find many people willing to discuss it any kind of open way.  Sara not only discusses it, but offers up some candid and balanced thoughts I think you'll want to read.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "I look at it as traditioanl publishing and self publishing are two different chains of distribution. A really, "2011" marketing plan would (for me as an agent at least) be to do both."

2. YOU CAN'T QUIT WRITING. EVER: Author Beth Revis illustrates why you have to continue to write even when you feel like you've given it your best shot.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: She is a NYT bestselling debut author, and her level of sticktuitiveness is going to inspire you.

QUOTE OF NOTE: (When showing off a BIG stack of printed manuscripts.) "Here's the thing: I treated every single book like it was the one."  Not one of them is published.

1. POWERFUL MEMORIES: Author/illustrator Alan Silberberg shares a very personal experience and explains how it help to fuel his creativity.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: It'll remind you why it's so much more than writing or drawing or painting.  It'll remind you of why we call it art.

QUOTE OF NOTE: " What happened really hit me for a loop because I started to doodle a memory about my father. I remembered how different he’d become after my mom died. I thought about how (the main character) Milo would also sense that difference and would be suffering from the loss of not one, but two parents."

I leave you with Uncle Rico.  "WRITE ON, MAN.  WRITE ON"  Have a great weekend!


  1. I didn't attend, but those who did have been great about posting tips and links - thanks!

  2. I usually have no luck with the live connections for those things, so I usually wait until it's over to read the transcripts. Thanks for highlighting some good ones. WriteOnCon really is a great idea. Glad so many agents and authors participate.

  3. I can't believe I blitzed this. Sounds like it was great.

  4. Fantastic summary of the good stuff, E.J. Your way with words is definitely one reason I keep coming back to your irresistible blog.

  5. Hey EJ! WriteOnCon was awesome. Sara Megibow's live chat was amazing - she was so organized and conveyed so much information in that short time.

    Did you catch Kate Schafer Testerman's vlog on queries?

  6. Unfortunately, I didn't have time but I will hop over there at my leisure. Thanks for the info.

  7. I love the way you called it poking around lol. And I'm glad you've got different readers, I'm doing the same thing on Tuesday :P

  8. Thanks for the recommendations, EJ. I was at WriteOnCon, but couldn't spend as much time as I wanted to and there was a LOT to enjoy. I didn't get to some of the things you mentioned here, so I'm glad to know about them so I can check them out!

  9. Like the summary. I was on vacation all week so I missed it.

  10. I was out of town most of last week, and so I missed the conference (sad). So, thank you for this list - - now I have somewhere to start. :)
    Margo Kelly

  11. Very nice round-up! Wasn't WriteOnCon amazing? I don't know how they find time to put it all together, but it is such an incredible service to the writing community. And thanks so much for stopping by the blog today. Definitely check out Going Bovine. I truly loved it.


  12. Thanks for all those quotes. Like Alex, I didn't get to attend because I'm too busy working on revisions. I've also sat on the fence about electronic self-publishing, and my writing is also shaped by powerful memories as well. This is awesome stuff, man. Thanks!

  13. The conference was great - and I still haven't been through all of it. So much!

    Nice recap!


“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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