TMCC Writers’ Conference

The TMCC Writers’ Conference is an annual event, hosted in Reno at a community college. This year I was given a scholarship by Capital City Young Writers to attend the conference. I was absolutely thrilled when Mrs. Dreisbach told me about the scholarship; I looked forward to the conference for about two months. When the day of the conference finally came, I was completely ecstatic, but had no idea what to expect. This was to be my first writers’ conference, so I had no prior experience with similar events. However, I was willing to take in any and all new experiences that presented themselves to me.

After collecting my schedule and spending twenty minutes chatting with a memoir writer, I sat down for the beginning of the conference. The first two speakers were great. Their talks were both on publishing, with the first being on how to enjoy writing despite the pressure of publishing, and the second being a very informative “how to get published” speech. While I enjoyed both speeches, I really gained a lot of information from the second speaker, Chuck Sambuchino. He’s the author of the book “How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack” and numerous magazine articles. His speech on how to get published was entertaining, informative, and inspiring. I took away a lot of good advice from it that I will definitely use in the future.

After Mr. Samuchino’s speech came the Agent’s Panel, a question-and-answer session during which anyone in the audience could ask three literary agents (one of which was Mrs. Dreisbach) a question about publishing. I didn’t know what the “Agent’s Panel” would be when I first read its title on my schedule, but I sure am glad I received the opportunity to not only figure out what it was, but to listen in on it. People asked some extremely productive questions during the forty-five minute Q&A session. Many of the questions I never would have thought of myself, yet I was extremely interested to know the answer. I think everyone at the conference benefited from the Q&A session. It was a unique opportunity for writers to help each other learn, with something as simple as an inquiry.

Following the Agent’s Panel was the most fascinating part of the day: Mrs. Dreisbach allowed me to sit in on the meetings she had with some of the conference attendees. During these meetings, people who had paid extra when registering for the conference had a chance to pitch their book to Mrs. Dreisbach, or just ask for publishing advice. I had a lot of fun listening to the pitches people had put together and in turn hearing Mrs. Dreisbach’s advice for them. The pitches varied from slightly strange to wholly intriguing, and the advice was enlightening. The books pitched also varied greatly: while most were the first books people had ever written, there were some more experienced writers. But, experienced or not, all the authors seemed to share a love and passion for their work.

After the meetings, I attended a speech on developing setting. It was very informative, and made me look at my settings in a whole new perspective. Afterward, the presenter of the speech, science fiction writer Susan Palwick, very kindly took the time to meet with me. It was a neat experience, and I enjoyed talking with her.

More meetings followed the setting speech. Only this time, I sat in with Chuck Sambuchino. While he isn’t a literary agent, he was giving advice on query letters and first chapters. I had a great time listening to his advice, and he even let me put my own input into some of the meetings. While most of the books presented to Mr. Sambuchino had great plots, there was a couple that caused me to have difficulty keeping a straight face. But as I listened to those somewhat bizarre plots, they reminded me that all writers have their own unique minds. I believe it is the unique mind of the writer that makes conferences such as the TMCC Writer’s Conference such interesting and special occurrences.

The meetings with Mr. Sambuchino were the final part of the conference for me. I took a lot out of the TMCC Writers’ Conference; not only was I able to gain some great publishing and writing advice, but I was given a special glimpse into the world of writing. I was also able to view writers working together in a beneficial manner, which was refreshing to see in a world as competitive as publishing. I thoroughly enjoyed the TMCC writers’ conference, and my experiences there have me eager to attend another writers’ conference.

Laura Cummings

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Categories: Writer's Conference Scholarships

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