I've mentioned the sessions on writing nonhumans and aliens I present at young writers conferences before (here), but, since I'm writing this while preparing for one on Thursday, I thought I'd blog about this kind of conference.
I would have loved to have had access to something like this when I was young. I was fourteen when I started writing and, to a young girl living in the Chicago suburbs, writers lived in far-off places like New York City. My schools didn't even have author visits.
The young writers conferences I'm familiar with are organized by school districts and are available for homeschooled students as well as those attending public or private schools. I'm presenting at three this year in Minnesota: SW/WC Conference for Young Writers, SCSC Young Writers & Artists Conference, and SSC Young Authors, Young Artists Conference.
The best thing about these conferences for the young writers is that they get to meet many different kinds of writers. Journalists and sports writers, picture book authors, storytellers, writers of historical fiction, cook books, comics, mysteries, fantasy and science fiction - and with three sessions offered during the day, students can pick and chose. Also, the sessions usually give the students a chance to do their own writing. In my session, they design their own character - human, nonhuman or monster. In other sessions, they write sports stories, a humor column, a scary story, or the start of a daily journal. Or they can do some world-building as well as create believable villains.
For the presenters, it's a chance to talk with authors in other fields. I meet many other science fiction and fantasy authors at science fiction conventions. But I don't often run into a storyteller or a sports writer except here. But best of all is the chance to meet young people enthusiastic about writing. I've been impressed with the amount of talent I've seen in my sessions. I'm hoping that many will continue to write and that I'll see their work published in the future.
If you are a student attending such a conference/workshop, don't forget to ASK QUESTIONS. Here is your chance to hear actual experiences from published authors and to compare tips and techniques from many areas.
If this sounds like something that might be of interest, check with your school district and see if they offer one.