My morning began early as I walked around the campus at 7:00 a.m. looking for a place to get a cup of coffee. The sun had not yet made its appearance and neither had the students. Brightly lit buildings were welcoming but I couldn’t find the coffee I sought. My aaaah moment finally came at 7:45 when I found hot coffee and pastries waiting for me at the York Convention Center. Let day two begin!
We had a brief time of worship, featuring music and prayer. Nice. After worship we were (officially) given time to graze on pastries and coffee; networking with others was also a popular use of the time. After a while, I set out to explore a little more of the campus and was rewarded with a number of interesting finds, including an interesting way to communicate information (on the partitions of the bathroom stalls).
I attended another workshop that morning. This one was led by Angela Jackson-Brown. She had an interesting topic, “writing about what you don’t know.” She shared her incredible insight on how to inject emotion into our characters. By using emotions we have in common (fear, anger, joy, surprise, etc.) with the character we are trying to create, we are able to begin the process of writing about someone who is not at all like us. Library and internet research, and interviewing people with valuable insight are also needed. All those elements when used in conjunction with one another bring our characters to life. Angela challenged us to not “get caught up with a character’s actions and lose their emotion.” Emotions give our characters life, which is necessary to connect us with our readers. Finally, Angela challenged us to not make the mistake of stereotyping our character. Real people are not stereotypes, they have layers of emotions (both good and bad).
Today is also the day I was scheduled for two one-on-one meetings with professionals in the writing field. Nervousness attempted to blot out my enjoyment as I sat in the chair waiting for my first consultation to begin. I remarked to the gentleman sitting next to me that it felt a little like waiting for a health evaluation at a doctor’s office. He shook his head in agreement and smiled.
The consultation didn’t go well. I have myself to blame for that. I should have matched the condition of my manuscript (a project under construction) with the area of expertise listed in the writing professional’s bio. He was kind and understanding, however, and wished me well.
When the time came for my second consultation, I learned that the woman I would be meeting
with had sustained a serious injury and would not be able to consult with anyone that day. I was completely understanding of the situation and made arrangements with a conference host to reschedule the interview at a later date. I would be lying if I said I was not hugely disappointed. The main reason for my coming to the conference was to have someone comment on my writing. I remained in my chair in the waiting area and called my wife. She prayed with me over the phone.
It is often said, “God works in mysterious ways.” He worked on my behalf on this day. On a whim, before leaving, I asked one of the many gracious conference hosts if she knew of anyone who had an open spot on their calendar and would be willing to meet with me. God sent me an angel in Angela Jackson-Brown. I profusely thank her for giving me a moment of her time, which in the end turned out to much more time then the allotted fifteen minutes. Angela took my manuscript in her hands and began to read it. I was thrilled to see my manuscript getting that evaluation I desperately sought! She pointed out things she liked and things I should work on. After my consultation, I made sure to I thank God for his provision.
I looked at my watch and it was almost 12 noon. If I left now, a nine hour drive would get me home before 10 p.m. Even though the conference had not yet concluded, I felt as though all my objectives were met. Good-bye Anderson University, and Faith and Writing Conference, I had a great time!