Las Vegas Writer's Conference 2016

This last weekend surpassed all of my expectations. I came into it hoping to meet like-minded people, make some writing friends, get my name out there, and hopefully learn something along the way. A week later, I can't believe the connections I made, the advice I received, and how different my ideas are for my writing and my brand. 

What most struck me about this conference was how nurturing it was. Everyone I met was welcoming and made me feel totally at home in a room of 150 strangers who are all more experienced than I, whether in writing, in life, or both. It was the most refreshing feeling, to walk into a room feeling like no one was judging me, but seeking to help me improve and share their own questions and concerns in the hopes that they also would improve.

The workshops were incredible as well. The faculty were all so eager to help us grow as writers, to guide us through the nuances of this industry, and I found every session I attended to be informative and engaging. The topics covered every aspect of the industry and many of the subjects found a way to connect with everyone, regardless of genre, audience, or stage of career.

I need to thank a few people in particular for making my first conference above and beyond spectacular. A huge thank you to Larry Brooks for the excellent tips he gave me for my manuscript moving forward. I have a whole new perspective on the story I'm telling, and I'm eager to get to work telling it. Thank you to Elena Hartwell for the great tips in her voice and dialogue classes and taking the time to get to know me and many of the other attendees personally, that was one of the reasons I felt so comfortable on the very first day. Thank you to Steve Hutson and Christine Fairchild for the great tips over drinks about what to expect as a beginning writer moving forward in this business, that conversation made me feel so much better about where I'm at, where I'm going, and where I want to go. I also need to thank Christine for being so warm towards me and going above and beyond to help me succeed. Thanks to Brady McReynolds and Sam Morgen for generally being awesome and for making the process of publishing seem less scary, particularly when you've got someone like the two them on your side. An extra thank you to Sam for the faith he showed in me, it meant a lot to me. I could go on forever with this. I don't think I had one conversation the whole weekend that didn't have a significant impact on me; if I'm being honest, it's pretty overwhelming. So to anyone I haven't mentioned, know that I'm very grateful for your time, interest, and tips, and I'm eager to further develop those professional relationships in the future!

I'm really looking forward to next year's conference, particularly since Donald Maass is the keynote speaker. His book, Writing the Breakout Novel, has been my go-to writing book for years now. Fingers crossed that my classes will work out and I'll be able to make it!

Carson Costa