I’ve been looking forward to Write! Vancouver 2013 ever since last year’s conference ended. I love going to conferences and was excited to have one happening so close to home—although it didn’t seem very close to home this year when I took the ferry by myself and then caught the bus and Skytrain to UBC.
Traveling in Vancouver is very stressful for me, but getting off the island with a vehicle is rather expensive. So, I got my husband to give me very detailed instructions about Vancouver transit and managed to make it to the conference without a problem. Coming home, however, I got off at the wrong Skytrain station and missed my bus to the ferry.
Write! Vancouver began this year with a “literary soiree,” which included a panel discussing excellence in writing and continued with appetizers and wine in the Tapestry Bar. Jade received many compliments for being a cute and quiet baby and provided an easy conversation starter. I said hi to fellow Inscriber Violet Nesdoly and to Kathy Tyers, whom I had interviewed via email for Maranatha News. Then, as Jade had been awake for a while, I bundled her into the sling and walked back to our room, hoping the walk would put her to sleep. She stared wide-eyed at everything we passed and then fussed for half an hour in our room before finally settling down.
On Saturday morning, I joined Marnie Wooding’s workshop on “Making a Scene.” Marnie used clips from movies like Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean to illustrate her points. She said story is an emotional ride—its purpose is to pull emotion from us. The scene is the place where an incident has occurred or is occurring in the story; the author decides which moments the reader will see and what they will explore in that scene. As Marnie talked, I thought about the novel I’m writing and how to apply what she discussed.
Publisher Marc Cote, author kc dyer, pastor Ken Shigematsu, and playwright Ron Reeves shared a panel on “Permission to Write.” They all agreed that as creative people, we need to give ourselves permission to write and to make time to do so. Ken said, “I can’t write like Philip Yancey, but no one can write like I can write either.” Marc mentioned that Alice Munro started writing short stories because she could write a paragraph while her younger daughters napped in the afternoon. Kc dyer also talked about writing as a single mom with young kids, carving out time to put the words on the page. She suggested that writers should treat writing like any other job, not as a hobby or something to do “someday.”
Kathy Tyers presented a workshop on point of view, explaining that POV is a cluster of skills that holds together everything you write. She said fiction appeals to people for the experience of having been someone else, somewhere else—reading broadens our experience as humans. She gave us concrete examples of good and bad writing to illustrate what she was saying about using POV to draw readers into the story and characters.
I had to skip the last part of the panel because Jade got a bit fussy. After slipping in and out a couple times trying to get her settled by changing her diaper, I just stayed out. There was a couch in the reception area where I put Jade down and she had fun smiling at me and kicking and squirming. I think perhaps she’d gotten tired of me holding her all the time and just wanted some space.
She’d slept through Marnie’s worshop in the morning and for quite a while after lunch while I checked my email and blogged during the break. For Kathy’s workshop, I ended up sitting on the floor while Jade lay on the sling next to me. She slept through all the bus rides we took and for most of the ferry ride, so I was grateful for that. Overall, it was an inspiring weekend and once again I’m excited about next year’s conference.