Cold Mac & Cheese and other musings

March 14, 2010

CNU Writer’s Conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — D.J. Lutz @ 1:39 am
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I attended the Christopher Newport University Writer’s Conference this weekend. Located in Newport News, VA, the university is small enough to keep that intimate quality that benefits students and teachers, but also large enough to have an Arts Center of elegant quality. A perfect setting for a writer’s conference.

The main presenter was Brian Haig, yes, son of the late General Alexander Haig. Brian, himself also a military man (Westpoint, 22 years in the army,) has written several books of military fiction, akin to Tom Clancy. He gave two excellent speeches on his writing and the business side of writing. Very enlightening. As a former professional musician, I was somewhat saddened yet not too surprised that the publishing business was almost identical to the music business.

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps
run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
– Hunter S. Thompson

Meg Medina was my favorite presenter. She focused on children’s books, not really my thing – at least not now – but it was a great presentation. I think she grew up near my good friend Carlos and his family in New York City. I’ll have to ask him next time I see him.

So what now? Three things, taken from the Conference:

(1) Learn and try the Snowflake technique of story structure.
(2) Read a book (figures…) called Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
(3) Get and read another book. I don’t have my notes with me, but it’s a workbook on creating children’s books.

Children’s books? First, you never know – it may be successful. Second, I think the exercises will transfer over to any type of writing.

Being an unschooled schlep-rock scribbler, I figure “what have I got to lose?”

If you are in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area next March (2011) check out the CNU Writer’s Conference. It’s a winner!


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