Deconstructing the 2014 JRW Conference

by Hazel Buys

“If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” Turkish proverb

Wow! Another great James River Writers conference! This year, I only participated in a Friday master class and a critique session on Sunday. Those two events were praise-worthy and if they were any indication, the whole conference was a winner. Upbeat energy hummed throughout.

The new venue was attractive and busy with conference-goers and hotel guests. The coffee was hot, the staff friendly and the lobby was easy to navigate. Can’t do much better than that.

It was wonderful to catch up with writing friends, some of whom I see only occasionally during the year.
The pre-conference workshop presented advice and ideas on how to get your novel published. Even though I’ve heard a lot of the advice before, there were several excellent ideas that were worth the price of admission.
My critique session was especially good because the agent gave me specific ideas on how to make my novel better and encouraged me to take it to the next level. I have homework and I intend to do every bit of it.

Back to the advice I opened with: LISTEN! I overheard one agent/editor saying that some of the authors she’d met with rejected her advice and didn’t want to change their work. It’s important to not close your mind to ideas that differ from yours. If you ask for someone’s advice, take time to consider it carefully. It may be just what you need to rise to the top.

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