- Got there a day early because I am terribly disorganized in the morning and would never have made it on time if I went on Friday.
- Decided to go out to a movie. Ate a terrible dinner that made me feel blerghy so I could make the time that the theater had said aloud on their recording. Went inside the theater only to find that the movie was not in fact showing at the time they had said aloud on their recording.
- Became annoyed.
- Went back to my hotel and watched someone get kicked off of American Idol.
- Took too long to get ready. Went in search of Starbucks.
- Went the wrong way despite my fully functioning and current GPS. Ended up at a Barnes & Noble cafe instead.
- Bought lunch, because that's what time it was by then. Seriously.
- Went back to hotel an hour and a half before registration opened. Became tremendously thankful an hour later when a rush of people showed up and the parking garage ran out of tokens and traffic backed up in all directions for a really, really long time.
- Sat in the common area, alternately staring at the floor in awkward silence and making stilted conversation with people who were only sitting near me because they were waiting for other people.
- WENT TO AWESOME WORKSHOPS!
- Found a pair of writers who were searching for a place to eat dinner. Hovered around them like a vulture. Two other vultures joined in the hovering. In the end, the vultures took over and invited themselves to the feast. Or to the barbecue joint. Whatever. It is possible that the vultures had a better time than the prey, who avoided us thereafter.
- Wine and cheese with crit partner from workshop and several people whose names I can no longer remember despite my best efforts.
- Had oatmeal with a table full of lovely strangers, one of whom was an agent because the agents were assigned to tables so they wouldn't cluster together at one, thereby making them inapproachable. Sarah Zarr was hilarious. Acquired a new appreciation for Frog and Toad.
- MORE AWESOME WORKSHOPS!
- Lunch: Hotel chicken. The two editors at my table (one went to her assigned table only to find it full) were delightful. Kate Messner was also hilarious.
- AWESOME WORKSHOPS ABOUND! If you ever get a chance to take a workshop with Mark Peter Hughes, grab that sucker.
- Cinda Williams Chima!
- Dinner on my own again. (Why is this a thing?) Decided I could walk for it. Every place I wanted to go was closed. Ended up getting coffee and a sad little sub in a not-so-nice part of town. And a blistered foot because I didn't mean to walk that far and I was still wearing sandals with a two-inch heel.
- Changed into sneakers. Went to regional meet-up, which apparently very few people felt they needed to attend. Chatted with the four who did.
- Ate oatmeal with new people.
- Went to all-day workshop wherein I learned how to storyboard my manuscript. Became intimidated by the process. Had internal shouting match wherein I told myself to suck it up, wimpy. Sucked it up. Learned how to work with critique comments from an author who was in the middle of doing same for the second book in her series. Wished I had blocked my ears and gone "LALALAICAN'THEARYOU!" because I'd just bought the first book in the series at the conference bookshop and there were MAJOR SPOILERS. Dammit. Discussed my book with crit partners. Confirmed that my working title does, in fact, stink like a house on Hoarders. Became intimidated by the process again. Sucked it up once more. Converted several people to Scrivener. Somewhere in there we had lunch. And cake. Desperately needed chocolate cake with caramel and coconut on top.
- Went to closing ceremony. Jane Yolen is both hilarious and wise.
- Ahhh. Home.
The pros: The workshops here were fabulous, with several moving beyond lecture and into hands-on territory. The speakers were tremendously experienced and knowledgeable. There was a great deal that was directly applicable to my chosen genre. Met some nice people. Foisted my business card on many of those people without Megan's prodding. (That last one was a major coup.)
The cons: I was spoiled by NECRWA last year, which fed us well and often and provided more and better methods of socialization if we were new. Agent/Editor appointments cost extra, which, again, differed from NECRWA. This was their first year at this hotel and it showed. (Parking, lack of seating, etc.) No swag. (Oh NECRWA, how you spoiled me.) The book signings were only an hour long and took place during other stuff, so I never got my books signed. :(
In short, I'll probably go back next year. The faculty there was second to none and what I learned was invaluable. Including how to eat alone. (Though, really, I hate it. I don't get out all that much, and eating is a very social thing for me.) Hopefully, next year I'll see some people that I now know.
How was your weekend?