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Wednesday, August 02, 2006


In Constant Motion

You have limited resources to attend writer’s conferences. Time and money are the normal constraints for most of us. If you could go to one conference and only one for the year, where would you go? The answer to this question is as individual as what type of books do you like to read? One person prefers nonfiction say history books while another is constantly reading political thrillers or someone else loves a good mystery.

There are a number of outstanding writer’s conferences in the country. Each one have their own emphasis and their own benefits. For many years, the Christian writing community has turned to Mount Hermon’s Christian Writer’s Conference as one of the premiere events each spring. It is an outstanding conference and one that I’ve attended and taught a number of times over the last twenty years.  I’ve watched this particular conference grow and change and constantly improve. For many years, a growing band of novelists gathered at this conference to network with editors and literary agents, grow in their craft and simply enjoy time together.  I continue to hear excellent comments about the fiction track of workshops. In the community of editors and agents, many of these colleagues only attend one or two conferences a year. Most of them have Mount Hermon on their “must do” list of conferences.

ACFWlargelogoThat first place choice of a single writer’s conference for Christian fiction writers is in constant motion.  I think there has been a shift in the landscape.

Several years ago a group of Christian novelists banded together to form the American Christian Romance Writers. As their numbers increased so did the composition of the group. It became broader than just the romance genre (which is still a key part of the group). They changed their name (and went through huge work to change their website and resources) to the American Christian Fiction Writers. Membership is simple and inexpensive.  Unlike the American Society of Journalists and Authors (where I’m on their board), they have no prerequisite other than an interest in Christian fiction. Instantly you join this welcoming and knowledgeable group of writers who are striving to improve the quality of Christian fiction and their individual craft—which are all admirable goals from this editor’s perspective.

While ACFW membership has many benefits, one of their key events is their annual conference.  Among some of the discussions I’ve had with other fiction editors and literary agents, they have modified their first choice for a conference. It seems to be shifting toward the Annual Conference for the ACFW.  If you want to get some insight, just check out their buzz page.  While I will not be attending this year’s conference ( it simply didn’t fit my plans this year), if you write or want to write Christian fiction, I’d encourage you to consider attending this Dallas conference.  The array of speakers, editors and agents is impressive—but you will equally learn a great deal from the best-selling authors who attend (members of ACFW).  A couple of years ago, I attended this conference and enjoyed the experience, the caliber of writers that I met and the interaction.

It seems like almost everyone I meet is trying to write a Christian novel. The operative word in the last sentence was “trying.” If you are in this area of the market, one of the ways to boost your own writing, cut off years of hard knocks learning and form some great relationships, then the annual conference may be just what you need to get you to the next level in your journey in the writing life.

7 Comment:

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Crystal Left a note...

Your advice to go to a conference is excellent, of course, but everyone should especially note the line,"then the annual conference may be just what you need to get you to the next level in your journey in the writing life." A writer should always strive for higher levels. Thank you for hosting this blog. We get so much from what you tell/share with us. I especially appreciated today's post.

 
At 1:05 PM, Blogger Dineen A. Miller Left a note...

I love this conference. Of all the connferences I've been to, this one is by far the richest when it comes to writing and selling Christain fiction. I've learned so much and made so many connections.

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Cathy West Left a note...

I'm sorry that you won't be in Dallas, Terry. This will be my first writing conference. I am looking forward to all the great learning experiences, and also the opportunity to meet many of the new friends I've made online in person! Everyone tells me it will be a really wonderful time - I am pleased to see you endorsing it.

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger Bonnie Calhoun Left a note...

I can't get all the way to Dallas but I will be checking out your classes next week at the Phila conference!

 
At 7:23 AM, Blogger R. K. Mortenson Left a note...

I've still only been to one Christian writers conference: Writing for the Soul (August 2004) sponsored by the Christian Writers Guild. I've been hankering to get to another conference ever since. It's just plain fun and energizing, and you learn a lot and make connections. And that one conference is where I met the editor who set Landon Snow on his publishing journey.

I would LOVE to go to Dallas, but I can't. I may get to Mt. Hermon next spring. Still hankering...

I will be attending a (non-CBA) Children's Writing Conference sponsored by the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) in October. Can't wait.

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger Linda Left a note...

I cannot find the equivalent organization for writers of Christian nonfiction. Any suggestions?

 
At 6:57 PM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...

Linda,

You raise an excellent question--especially in light of the fact that nonfiction consistently outsells fiction. That's something people who dream about writing fiction don't seem to understand.

The only Christian nonfiction group that comes to mind is for writers--but it has a ton of writers: The Evangelical Press Association. It's a group mostly of magazine editors but they have conferences and support each other with online forums, etc.--and any writer can be an associate member.

I'd encourage you to look into joining this group.

Terry

 

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