Monday, April 19, 2010

Festival of Faith and Writing 2010

Set This House in Order: A Romance of SoulsLast week I attended the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. This was my first writing conference. I had no idea what to expect or if it would be worth the registration fee. I'm glad I attended. The experience was invaluable and fun. Some of the presentations directly answered my questions or pointed me in the right direction to build my career. I also made a personal connection with an editor and an agent. This whole business is still about personal connections. If you're seriously interested in writing and publishing, get thee to a conference.

The Miracle Life of Edgar MintI was also introduced to the work of Matt Ruff and Brady Udall. I heard a reading by Ruff from his novel Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls and attended a session in which he talked about the interior landscapes of his characters. Ruff's Set This House in Order centers on two people with multiple personality disorder. The protagonist builds a house in his mind for the different personalities or souls, as Ruff terms them, to live. Udall gave a presentation on building a novel. That was a great talk, tremendously informative. He offered practical advice on narrative structure and echoed some of the ideas I've come across in John Gardner's works about writing, namely that most literary criticism is not very helpful to writers. Criticism rarely talks about plot structure and how a piece of literature works. So, I added two new books to my ever-growing stack of things to read: Ruff's Set This House in Order and Udall's The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint.

One piece of advice I heard from multiple sources was the importance of blogging and doing it consistently. So, I'm going to make an effort to blog more often.

1 comment:

  1. hi Jeff - yes, writer's conferences are invaluable. Networking and meeting editors/agents face to face is so important! I'm glad you had a good conference.