This past weekend the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers association held their Colorado Gold conference. It’s a three-day extravaganza of panels, classes, carousing, dinners, pitches, critiques, and awards. The hospitality suite at the end of each day was a bit like a Mos Eisley Cantina, minus the band and severed arm… and I was in good company.
I’m a previous winner of the Gold contest, came up short with my two entries this year, and won’t be able to enter again because my novel Chemical Burn was picked up this year by Word Fire Press. However, I fully intend to return again and again to the conference in coming years because of the educational track as well as the connections one can make.
I’m also hoping they’ll let me keep teaching.
You see, I upped my game just a little bit this year by submitting a class proposal to the conference: “Writing Great Action and Fight Scenes.” And they accepted. I won’t deny that I was a bit nervous about teaching writing to a room full of other writers. Doing panels at a convention is one thing. You’re basically just up in front of a room full of people, mostly fans, and you have a conversation about a topic. Easy. Hell, people do that in bars all the time—minus the audience. But this was a whole new kettle of fish.
Basically, by being up there I told a room of professionals in my industry that I know things about the craft that they may not know… that I’m an authority. That’s not something I do well. I don’t brag, and I frequently sell myself short. I was six months in a writing group before they found out I had placed in the Gold conference.
Anyway, with the help of Travis Heermann, we got up in front of about forty or fifty writers and told them how to write great action and fight scenes. I’m pleased to say that it went very well. The moderator told us it was a fantastic class, the class itself seemed to be thoroughly engaged, and then Travis told me something later that really made it all sink in.
I had left right after the class to get some sleep. Long story, but suffice it to say that I’d burned the candle at three ends for the previous week and a half. I was a wreck. But later that night, at the conference shindig, Travis told me people had been stopping him in the halls of the hotel all day long telling him what a great class it was.
It didn’t matter to me that they were saying it to him. What mattered was that people, other writers, had taken away a positive experience from the conference… from a class that Travis and I had put together. It was a bit of a validation… okay, okay, so it was a hell of a validation.
If you’re a writer, then the odds are that you know what self-doubt is. Most of us live with it in one way or another. The trick is toughing it out between those dry spells till you get your next dose of validation. Well, this one should hold me for quite a while.
I wanted to pass along thanks to everyone involved in the RMFW Colorado Gold conference. It’s a fantastic event with fantastic people and fantastic opportunities to improve your craft and further your career. I was lucky to be involved and will always be grateful for the chance to contribute.
On a final note, and to keep a promise I made to the class, here’s a link to the PowerPoint I put together for the class. ENJOY!
(removed 1/24/2014 as a result of contributor conflicts)