Last weekend’s Writers’ League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference was busy, lively, and a lot of fun. The Writers’ League “serves to educate and uplift Texas writers, whatever stage they may be at in their writing careers,” and provides communities across the state with free programming in libraries and local schools. It’s an excellent organization.
Friday afternoon, bookseller Scott Montgomery and I led a meeting for conference attendees interested in writing mysteries and thrillers. We answered a lot of questions: about research (most law enforcement agencies have Public Relations departments that can provide information to writers), about definitions (Scott: a cozy mystery is a book “where there’s a murder, but nobody gets hurt”) and about sex scenes in thrillers (how hot is too hot? It depends on the book). It was great to see so many new writers who want to write mysteries — that means more great novels for me to enjoy once they’re published.
Saturday I gave the keynote luncheon speech. The word “luncheon” told me this was a classy shindig, so I dressed up. This meant that once I climbed the stairs to the stage wearing a dress and heels without tripping and doing a faceplant, I already considered the talk a success. I spoke about “A Storyteller’s Journey: Forging a Path with Craft, Passion, and Persistence.” My essential points were contained in that title. There is no such thing as the writer’s journey. There are many, and every one of us has to create our own path to writing professionally. Having passion, learning the intricate layers of the craft of writing, and persisting as we create new work — these things will sustain us on our never-ending journey.
I also talked about my hilariously awful first attempts at writing a novel, and read readers’ complaint letters. It was great.
And because this was a luncheon speech, I took the stage before dessert. When I finished, the tables had, sadly, been cleared. The Writers’ League’s executive director, Becka Oliver, heard me give a little whimper. And an hour later, when I was sitting downstairs in the conference hotel lobby, she dashed up carrying a warm plate of cherry crumble. My reward!
I told you, these are excellent people.