In case anyone noticed I hadn’t been here as regularly as normal this week, if you call my posts here regular at all. (grin). I got sort of busy.
From Monday to Thursday morning I worked with ten writers to fine-tune novel submission packages to get out to editors. Great books and great writers and a ton of fun for me. We had some wonderful discussions about all sorts of things concerning publishing and I learned a bunch from them as well as (I hope) helping them sell their novels quickly.
Then on Thursday night a group of 39 professional writers came together here in Lincoln City to work on stories and talk writing and network and just have a blast. I was honored to be in the group. I’ve seen pictures of the old Milford where younger professional writers got together and Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm’s house and wrote and talked about stories and fiction and the business. Well, we had thirty-nine professional writers here, with Denise Little, John Helfers, Kris and I leading the formal structured times.
For those of you who have not been lucky enough to know or work with Denise Little, she started off working for B&N, becoming the national genre fiction buyer. Then she went to work as an editor for Kensington in New York for fifteen years where she had her own line of books called “Denise Little Presents.” Then for the last fifteen years she has been writing and editing for Tekno Books. I worked on a number of projects over the years with Denise, both novels and short fiction. This last fall she moved to freelance writing, editing, and agenting. She has the most astute eye for fiction of anyone I have ever met.
John Helfers has also been with Tekno books both as a writer and an editor for fifteen years. He’s written upwards of twenty novels, most under other names and I have also had the pleasure of writing stories for his and his wonderful wife’s anthologies that normally come out of Daw Books. He can see things in fiction that many others just can’t see. Stunningly sharp.
Then Kristine Kathryn Rusch was up front helping with the leading the structure, the only person to win both a Hugo for professional editing and for her own writing.
I honestly felt outclassed.
As far as the writers sitting in that meeting room overlooking the ocean, one person figured that there had to be upward of 400 published novels and a thousand published short stories by everyone in that room combined. I didn’t even want to try to add it up because sitting up front all I could see was a sea of extremely well-published professional writers. I do know at one small round table of seven writers there was at least forty published novels.
Every one of us, including me, wrote two stories to order for the workshop. One story was written a couple weeks ahead to a short deadline. You all saw my story here called “On Top of the Dead.” My second to-order story I will put up soon. It was for an anthology of “curses” and it had to be written basically in twenty-four hours and turned in while the workshop was going on.
We gave out the assignment on Thursday night very late and it had to be printed and turned in Saturday morning. No one missed. Again, as I said, all professional commercial fiction writers.
The real, real value of this workshop was bringing 39 professional writers together from around the country and Canada to network and talk and help each other. The writing was great fun, sure, and I learned a bunch of stuff not only in reading the 80 plus professional-level stories (some did more than one story in twenty-four hours). But wow did I learn in the ongoing discussions, often in small groups, sometimes with the entire group talking about some business thing or craft issue.
And I got to see old friends and meet some new, great writers and make new friendships that I hope will last.
And I have to thank publicly Denise Little, John Helfers, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Christina York (Christy Evans) for making this a fantastic and smooth gathering. And Kip Ward at the Historic Anchor Inn for welcoming an entire hotel full of fiction writers. Also the great staff and crew at both the Hilltop Restaurant and the Inn at Spanish Head for helping in great meals and a wonderful meeting location just feet above the beach. All that great help allowed me to just be a part of the group and learn and enjoy along with everyone else. Thanks!
I can’t believe I was so lucky as to be a part of a wonderful weekend with wonderful writers all working to become better professionals. It was a special four days I will remember for a very long time.
I hope everyone makes it home safe across the States and Canada.