In most cases, the writing workshops were so much more than I had hoped for. The instructors and panel participants were so enthusiastic about their subjects and incredibly welcoming of other opinions. I suppose that should be a given, but I've attended many workshops in the past that were so dry and dull that it was hard to enjoy. That wasn't a problem here.
I got to see some great panels by some LJ friends,raecarson and tobias_buckell. Both were great! I saw the panel Rae did on humor in speculative fiction, and Tobias did a great seminar on queries, proposals and the like. It was so nice to see them both, and great to hear what they had to say.
A big thanks to the Seton Hill University gang (not to be confused with the Sugar Hill Gang) that was everywhere this weekend. They were all wonderful. Their excitement for their craft and willingness to share their knowledge and experience with everyone was extremely cool. My own writing group has numerous members that attend and speak at the Bowling Green Winter Wheat conference and the West Virgina Conference. I can only hope we're half as impressive and well thought of to attendees of those conferences.
I hate to not mention people's names, but I hate even more to leave people out. I do have to mention Michael Arnzen. He was a terrific instructor/panelist. I love it when someone is so exited and worked up about good writing. It's contagious. I attended his workshop on speculative poetry and was floored. I've written some specfic poetry before and had a little published, but after that three hours (it flew by), I wanted to fire up the laptop and write some more at that very moment. To add to that, he was one of the panelist/featured readers at the specfic poetry reading and open mic. There's just something about a writer who reads his own work with such glee, that he can't keep from giggling at the good parts. My energy was flagging on Saturday night, so I missed the interview with him unfortunately, but I heard it was pretty cool.
Some other people on that panel were exceptionally nice. Heidi Ruby Miller (ambasadora) was great. Very encouraging and gave me some great advice and professional suggestions. She read a number of short pieces, including her gamer wedding vows. Hilarious!(and more than a wee bit nerdy, which I like!).
Timons Esaias gave some good advice on how to correct a poem at the poetry workshop. He also read some great stuff at the poetry reading. He writes those kinds of science fiction and fantasy poems that spring from science. I laughed today because I noticed in the news that a Mount Kelut may be close to erupting. Saturday night, Timons read a great poem about a volcano that I just loved.
All in all, the workshops were great. Yes, there were clunkers, and a couple that were good but just not helpful to me, but they were few and far between.
I hung out until the wee hours at the after parties, though not nearly as much as most seemed to. It was a long weekend and I'm really not used to that kind of schedule. Ah well. It was great while it lasted.
Like I said, just wanted to check in and beam about the great weekend. I'll give some specific nuggets of wisdom as I get the time, and I'll mention some more people I met, heck I didn't even mention Tim Powers, Mike Resnick or Tim Waggoner, but that's enough for now.
Very little writing was done, but the effects of what I learned will last quite a while.