Last weekend on February 21-23rd, 2013 I was able to attend the ANWA Conference at the Mesa Hilton Hotel in Mesa, Arizona. It the most amazing writers' conference I've ever been to. The experience I had was priceless. I will never forget the friends that I made or the lessons that were taught.
The keynote speaker was James Owen, author of the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series. I don't think that I've ever met anyone so inspiring. I've always believed that if you put your mind to something and do all that you can, giving it your very best work, that one day you will achieve that goal. James Owen elaborated on this with his personal stories and experiences. Everyone was entranced by his words and the room was buzzing with possibility. Whatever our goal my be, to be published or something different from writing, we will make it. No one is a failure. I really like a quote from James Owen that asks if you are a person who makes things happen, or are you someone who things happen to? I found it intriguing. It's a question we should all ask ourselves. Are we willing to go the distance to accomplish our dreams? Granted, there will be battles along the way. It's not going to be smooth, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy is it?
There were many other lessons held by more fantastic people. I thoroughly enjoyed the research lesson given by Lynn Gardner, author of the Gem Series. Research can be a pain or an adventure. Lynn was able to help me recognize the adventure side of it. In the beginning, research wasn't something I looked forward to, but with her insight, I find it much more enjoyable. She also spoke about it's importance. Whether our story be placed in the real world, or a world that we invented, research is usually always needed. She made it clear that if you don't notice it, then your readers certainly will; especially if you are writing about a foreign country and their customs. Research is what gives the story a strong foundation to stand on. As writers, we must be well read and knowledgeable about what we are creating if we want it to be a success.
Yet, by far my favorite class was given by Chris Schoebinger, who is the Publishing Director and acquisitions editor for Shadow Mountain. His class was about five things your should know before submitting your manuscript to an agent or editor. His advice was sound and I appreciated it greatly, but it is what he spoke about towards the end of his lesson that touched me. In my previous post I spoke about light and truth, and that is exactly what Chris spoke about. His words were so powerful as he told us ANWA members about how it is our job, because of our faith, to create books that are sound and full of light and truth that can be provided for the world as clean reads. He was saying how we must write books that are uplifting and give healthy entertainment. This has always been my goal and to hear an agent say this was quite inspiring.
It is my dream that my books will bring my readers to a different world that teaches good lessons, while also letting their minds dream of a fantasy. I believe that it is my job to do so.
I had many more wonderful experiences at the ANWA Conference, but I will write more about them at a later date.