Teaching at the Roanoke Regional Writer’s Conference

I had the opportunity to teach at the Roanoke Regional Writer’s Conference on Saturday. I love teaching to a crowd of “students” that really want to learn about writing. I’m not sure I’d have the patience to teach a group of people–say high schoolers– who didn’t really want to be in my class.
My class was about mystery writing and it was great fun. I like to engage the students rather than just lecture, which usually means I run out of time. We went over the different subgenres of mystery and I asked them to think about which one they are writing in. I also asked them to come up with one sentence to describe their idea. Of course, they were all fabulous and I found myself in awe of this group. I told them to keep me posted about their careers–and I meant it. If I can help them out in any way, I will. It’s a tough business and sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on what’s important and WHY we write, especially when we are new at it and trying to find our voice, along with getting frustrated by the way the publishing business operates. Try not to think about agents and publishers and your Twitter accounts when you’re actually writing, I tell them. You have so much to learn in the mean time. It’s so important to learn the craft and to enjoy learning it.
Take your time. It is fleeting.

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