TWA’s Third Annual ConferencePosted: June 8, 2008
After filling up Friday and Saturday, the third annual Tennessee Writers Alliance writers’ conference held on the Battle Ground Academy campus in Franklin is now one for the history books. I headed up the Marketplace where authors attending the conference could sell their books. All I did was sit and stand. I have never been so tired in my life.
It was great to work with people like Cindy Phiffer, Randy Mackin, Louise Colln, Debbie Whitaker, Currie Alexander Powers, Barbara Hearn, and Amy Lyles Wilson. Highlights of the weekend included visiting with Richard Modlin, Marian Lewis, Connie Foster, and Kelly Weathers. (Hi, Kelly! You said you’d be reading!)
TWA’s 2008 Literary Legend award went to Shelby Foote, and the 2008 Writer of the Year award went to Tony Earley, who received it with a gracious acknowledgment that he needed this honor because he was stuck in his attempt on his next book and he needed to feel good about himself and his writing.
I only attended one session, that of Kathryn Knight and Tamara Baxter on first lines of books and how to change the wording to make them more effective. I heard good comments about the others, though, led by Bill Brown, Jimmy Carl Harris, Gloria Ballard, Tracy Crudup, Yvonne Perry, Tracy Barrett, Jerry Parks, and Lantz Powell.
Friday night’s reception at Landmark Booksellers in downtown Franklin was cozy and intimate, as always, with good wine, good hors d’oeuvres, and good conversation.
An interesting attendee was David Young, “Ben Franklin,” second from right, who was driving from Florida to Philadelphia, learned of the conference in Franklin, and dropped in for Saturday’s sessions. He’s a determined poet who was terminated by Mercedes Benz for writing poetry.
After the reception I ran by another store to catch five minutes of author Rick Bragg’s booksigning. It was standing room only; the aisles were packed. Too tired, I listened to one story about his daddy and the tall man next to me took a picture because I couldn’t even see Rick, and I stumbled out of the store to my car and home to eat a salad my husband had picked up at Maniac’s. I didn’t buy a book. I didn’t get it signed.
I came out of the conference with a few helpful pointers and reminders. Write what you love. Fall in love with your characters, so your reader will fall in love with them, too. And lastly, a quote given by one of our panelists: “Write the damn book.”