I'll be heading off to SleuthFest, a mystery writer's conference, at the end of the month. Why do writers go to conferences? Join author J L Wilson as she talks about the Roman legionnaires she met while in Chicago.
I just got back from two writer’s conferences (back to back), and since I write murder mysteries set at conferences for writers, they were very, very useful to me.
I used to go to big conferences — RWA National and RT spring to mind. But in the last few years I’ve focused on three or four smaller conferences throughout the year. And let’s face it, three small conferences cost as much as RWA or RT, so I’m getting more bang for my buck.
The thing I like about smaller cons is that I usually get to either meet readers or I get to meet writers who are often with smaller presses, just like I am. So I get a chance to (1) reach a new audience and (2) exchange ideas with people in the same boat as me.
Speaking of boats …
...the first conference was a cruise at sea. Since I’ve never cruised, it was fascinating (if you want more details you can check my newsletter, posted at my web site. It was a very brief cruise, but enough to give me a taste of the life, so to speak.
The last conference I attended was in Chicago and was a murder-mystery conference. I’m finding those more to my taste than the romance conferences. This one was particularly interesting because another conference was at the hotel at the same time, and it was “Re-Enactor Fest.” So we had a few hundred people sharing the hotel with us who were dressed as: soldiers (Roman soldiers, WWII soldiers, British soldiers — you name it, we had it), Southern belles (complete with hoop skirts), Henry VIII, pioneers, Native American Indian scouts, movie stars …
The variety was endless. I have to tell you, I got SO many plot ideas! And I had a chance to inspect muskets, blunderbusses, and swords up close (so useful for my time travel books) as well as see just how uncomfortable some of that clothing was (the consensus was that the shoes were the hardest to create accurately AND comfortably).
So all in all — a very good time. I sold a few books (my latest came out on the first day of the conference, so that was a bit of serendipity) and I gathered a lot of ideas for upcoming novels. My next conference is in June then one in August and I’m done for the year. Since I’m already contracted through 2011 that should give me enough plots to get me through 2012! For more information about my various books (mystery, romantic suspense, and time travel), check my web site