Wednesday, April 6

What Are Your Favorite Writers' Conferences?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Some of my best writer memories and experiences come from writers' conferences. I met good friends there, launched my career there, felt like I was "a real writer" for the first time there. They're packed full of writer energy and always leave me inspired (and exhausted).

The one I remember most fondly is the Surrey International Writers' Conference in British Columbia. It was the first I'd ever attended, and where I got my start as an author. As my career and circle of writer friends and colleagues grew, the conferences of my local chapter of SCBWI, Southern Breeze, also became favorites (Springmingle and wik). And even though RWA focuses on romance (which I don't write), their conferences have always been amazing and informative.

But there are conferences I've never been to and wish I could go, such as SCBWI National in either New York or LA. I hear good things about Rocky Mountain Writers. Several mystery-writing friends attend Sleuthfest every year and it always sounds like fun. I'm sure there are dozens and dozens more out there I don't even know about.

Every time I post about a conference at least one person emails me to say they had no idea that conference was right around the corner from them or even in their town. Many of these fantastic events aren't widely publicized, and the folks who need them don't even know they exist.

So now's the chance to share your favorite conferences and writer events. 


What are the ones where you live? What does your local writers' organization do? Is there a big conference in your area? What did you like about it? If it's a recurring event, let us know!

Conferences are such a great way for writers to get together and learn from each other--and to socialize a little, of course. They can be career changing no matter what stage in your career you're at, and a vital part of your writing growth.

Let us know what conferences you enjoy, and even what ones you wish you could attend.

Looking for tips on planning and writing your novel? Check out my book Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, a series of self-guided workshops that help you turn your idea into a novel. 

Janice Hardy is the founder of Fiction University, and the author of the teen fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, where she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those    with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her novels include The Shifter(Picked as one of the 10 Books All Young Georgians Should Read, 2014) Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. The first book in her Foundations of Fiction series, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure is out now.

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16 comments:

  1. My home town conference is my favorite, since you're asking! - The Blue Ridge Writers' Conference is THIS weekend (April 8 & 9) in Blue Ridge, GA. Agent Stephanie Fretwell-Hill and authors Jennifer Jabaley, Kristin Tubb and Lola Schaefer among the speakers. Registration still open at blueridgewritersconference.com. I also like North Carolina Writers' Network conferences and the SCBWI ones in Atlanta and Birmingham.

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    1. Nice! Hope you had fun (if you went).

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  2. Does anyone have a suggestion for good 5 day workshops? Specifically for science fiction/fantasy/young adult writers who have never published and are really looking to improve their craft?

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    1. Although it's not specifically sic fi, RWA's conferences (both the local larger chapters and the national) have longer 4-5 days cons. They're packed full of great writing workshops that apply to any genre.

      You might also try the national SCBWI cons (one in the summer in LA, and the winter in NY) for YA.

      If you're looking specifically for workshops, LitReactor has a lot of online classes (my bud Delilah S Dawson teaches there a lot and has a world building workshop she's running around now. Might not be too late to sign up).

      You might also try looking locally for a writers' group (check the NaNo website for groups indoor area as well) and asking them. They'll probably know what local events have great workshops.

      Hope that helps get you started! Hopefully next year you'll be able to take online workshops here at Fiction University. It's something I want to do, but it's taking longer than expected to get it all worked out :)

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  3. I attended my first RWA conference last year and was blown away. This year they're in San Diego, no plane ride needed for me! Can't wait!

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    1. Being a newbie in this field, I would've loved to have checked this out. It's not too far (I'm in Phoenix, AZ), but lack of funds is always an issue. Maybe next year.

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    2. RWA changes location every year, so check their site to see where they'll be over the next few years. It's one of the things I love about that con. Odds are it'll be close to you at some point.

      The local RWA chapter cons are also quite nice. Some of them are fairly large as well.

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  4. My favorite is the Historical Novel Society conference, but I'm attending the Chanticleer Author's Conference, RWA's Spring Fling and Penned Con for the first time this year, so if you do this again next year, I can let everyone know how those are.

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    1. I haven't heard of that one yet, but I bet it's interesting with all those historical writers. I know how crazy the sic fi fantasy conversations get, and I imagine it would be similair, but with real history, lol.

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  5. I love UtopiaCon (utopiacon(dot)com). Lots of wonderful panels, a fabulous awards night, exhibitor tables, all in the super fun city of Nashville, TN.

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  6. I love our California Dreamin' conference, put on by the four Southern California chapters of RWA. The next one is March 2017 with Debra Dixon, Sarah MacLean, and Robyn Carr. (Full disclosure: I'm on the organizing committee!��)

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    1. Totally fine to share your own cons! Love the name.

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  7. Oops, and those 2 question marks at the end of my comment should have been a happy face!

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  8. I LOVED the Speculative Fiction conference in Orlando. Last year was the first time, but they had an awesome group of panelists and great talks about craft. It is held in August in Orlando, you can find info by googling SF:SE2015. It's really a great con

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    1. That's in Orlando? Sweet! Just moved to the area, so I'll have check this one out. I know there's a lot in Central FL, but I haven't had a chance to research it all yet.

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