Tag Archives: Anderson University

Faith and Writers Conference – Day 2

ifwc-tnMy 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!


“Stall talk”

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).


The little house, aka the Barney Warren Cabin



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

Does this remind you of a Paul McCartney song?

Does this remind you of a Paul McCartney song?

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 shouIMG_0456ld 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!

Faith and Writers Conference – Day 1

ifwc-tnThe weather was cool but not cold.  That means a constant battle with putting a jacket on, and taking it off.  Isn’t it funny how  little things like that annoy you when you’re nervous.

I continue to enjoy walking around the campus, passing clusters of students here and there.  Thank goodness other conference attendees have arrived.  Now I don’t feel like the old man in the sea (of young people).

Gloria Gather opened the conference.  How cool is that!  My parents sang their music for years in the gospel quartet they toured with.  My siblings and I were taught to sing, “What a day that will be” as youngsters.  Mom and Dad thought it was a good idea to drag us up in front of the church and sing it with them.  We were told to smile when we sang (that should give you some indication of how excited we were to do it).

York Performance Hall

York Performance Hall

Gloria challenged us to: (1) Write the story; do it by observing what’s happening around you. Keep a journal.  At one point Gloria said, “we (writers) are trying to say in words what cannot be said…”  (2) Read. Read. Read.  Know the world around you.  She also said, “you don’t need big words, just the right words.”  Of course I liked that quote.

We could attend two workshops in the afternoon.  I chose building a web platform (part 1 and part 2).  Angela Herrington was did  good job of taking some of the “scare” out of what is happening on the web these days.  I have to say whoever comes up with the names of these sites (hootsuite, aweber, unsplash, picMonkey, canva) really should put more thought into what they name them.

Yes I did take a bite out of the sloppy joe!

Yes I did take a bite out of the sloppy joe!

Then, we were off to supper.  Nice food.  The food tasted even better because the conference paid for it.  I signed up for the open mic reading, which was supposed to happen during the supper hour.  So I sat around waiting for someone to whip out a microphone and start the show.  No one did.  It was then that I realized I was eating in the wrong dining room.  Fortunately, the event was being held in an adjoining room.  I barely had a chance to sit and catch my breath before I heard my name called.  Come to think of it I never really did catch my breath because while I was reading I had to keep stopping to breathe.  Has that ever happened to you?

We had one more keynote speaker in the evening, Scott Russell Sanders.  Scott has a passion for trying to understand our human existence on the planet.  He has an extremely imaginative mind (something I relate well to).  He read excerpts of his yet to be published book, Ordinary Wealth.  The book features a collection of unusual photographs taken by a photographer friend of Scott’s.  Mr Sanders then wrote unique and imaginative stories for each picture.  From listening to his stories you can tell he champions preserving the earth, protecting its wildlife and resources.

Wow, that was a long day, but a fun day.

Faith and Writers Conference – Preamble

Why attend a writers conference?ifwc-tn

I am a self-taught writer.  Any one who has tried to write knows it is an experience of the solitary sort.  I seem to be doing pretty well but I’ve always wondered what it would be like rubbing elbows with a room full of others engaged in the same endeavor.  Also, who wouldn’t want to learn a thing or two to improve their “game” from professionals who’ve been around the block a few times.

I love a good writing contest, too.  I sent my “Fish” story on ahead of me to be judged by the conference speakers.  I wonder how it will stack up against other writers in the non-fiction category?

And then there’s the open mic night.  Will I be brave enough to read a 5 minute segment of my work in front of a room full of strangers and see how they react?

My main reason for going, however, is to get an opinion from writing professionals about my work.  I opted for two consultations of fifteen minutes each.  I want to get their opinion and ask for their advice.  It is a given that I will keep writing but at what capacity will I write going forward?

Thursday I hit the road with my Kindle.  I found away to use the “text-to-speech” function on Kindle and pipe it through my car stereo using an ear phone cord with a plug on each end.  It was the strangest thing having my book Junior’s Hope read to me while I drove.  I have to say, hearing it read aloud inspired and encouraged me as I drove.  I arrived safely, thank you for your prayers.

Anderson University is a beautiful place.

Common area between the buildings known as the valley

Common area between the buildings known as the valley