I had the pleasure of attending my first Superstars Writing Seminar this year. It was in Colorado Springs, so I got to visit my uncle who lives there. It was a very different experience from any other conference I’ve been to, including work conferences. We were told right from the start to go out to eat together…to look for a group of people from the conference and join them. When I first arrived, the person who came in with me put it out on Facebook that we were eating in the restaurant, and next thing we know, the table was full!
Superstars is a writing conference for more advanced level writers. It is generally on the business side of writing, though they had a craft fest this year as well. Off to my adventures.
Adventures in the high altitude
The first two nights, by the time I got to the end of the day, it was like I was drunk. I was staggering around and tripping over everything. The first night, I took off my shoes in my hotel room, stumbled over them every single time I walked back and forth. So I put them in a corner, out of the way.
And lost them!
The next morning, I could not find my shoes! The altitude addled my brain. My first thought was that someone had stolen them. Then I sort of worked into the realization that no one had gotten into the room, so the shoes were in here. But where? I finally found them in the corner. The carpet was a very dark green, so my black shoes were actually very well camouflaged (pesky shoes were trying to go Army on me).
Garden of the Gods Tour
I went up a day or so early because I wanted to go on the Garden of the Gods tour. Kevin got a bunch of drivers together and we carpooled out. The sky was a clear blue, with the sun creating wonderful shadows on the rocks. It was also very windy and cold. We meandered on the paths, stopping to take a picture at an intersection that also was a wind tunnel. These were some of the incredibly beautiful rock formations (the rock was much more reddish-orange than the photo shows).
My first actual day of the conference was a Craft Fest, which was in its second year, I believe. This was an addition to the regular conference. We all attended two workshops, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I did Kevin J. Anderson/Rebecca Moesta’s workshop on World Building in the morning and Jeffrey , commercial fiction in the morning. I wished I had the WB workshop much earlier–I was scared off fantasy because all I heard was that to build a world you needed a three ring binder, some tabs, and had to answer tons and tons of questions. This was a much simpler variation.
I picked the commercial fiction because it was Jeffrey Deaver and I thought I could get something out of it even though I’m indie. In hindsight, I should have picked one that was more flexible for the indie side, so maybe something more craft focused. For the record, he spends 8 months writing an outline before he does the book and spends thousands to get it edited before it goes to the publisher.
The Conference Itself
By the time the conference started, I was enough over the altitude sickness and time zone difference that I was no longer a zombie. The conference was split into traditional and indie, like with workshops on what agents and editors look for in your opening and guerrilla marketing. I really found the workshops on Amazon useful. I’d heard some of the basic principles, but not really explained well–and especially not for fiction writers. It was also at a much higher level than what I’ve been seeing, I promptly decided I wasn’t going to attend the Philadelphia book marketing conference in November because it was too basic and too focused on non-fiction.
The VIP Dinner
I signed up late for the VIP Dinner because of the additional cost, but I’m glad I did. I sat with Mark Leslie Lefebvre (Draft2Digital) and Tara Cremin (Kobo), which was my first pick. Did we talk marketing or coming trends? No. We talked ghosts! It was a lot of fun.
The restaurant also went way, way out of the way to accommodate diners with food allergies and sensitivities. I’m gluten and dairy free and I had a really hard time on a cruise. The cruise often couldn’t figure out what to do for desert, so their default was fruit. I expected that here. But the restaurant actually had deserts that worked with the food sensitivities. So I was seriously impressed.
I’m already signed up for the next one. If you’re interested, use the referral code LADAMS (discounts for me, but you get a referral code too). There’s a very good payment plan, especially if you sign up very early for it.
I hope at some point you’ll share some of what you learned in the world building session, because like you I’ve been scared off world building because of the tabs/binders thing.
Anderson has a book on world building, and I thought I’d get it, but some of the reviews make me think it’ll just be more binders/tabs.
About the only thing that works for me is to build from the character’s POV, so anything else anyone can provide could be helpful.
Either way, sounds like you had a great time, and the Garden photo is amazing!
Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll go ahead and write up a post on it.
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