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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Distilling my conference experience

Everyone is asking about the Genesis contest: I got runner-up! I'm so proud of the accomplishment. I admit, runner up was a little anti-climactic but after distilling it for a while, I'm thrilled. I didn't even think I'd make the first round cuts and I was runner up. Pretty cool.

I wish I had the energy to detail every single minute of my conference experience. But I'm exhausted. I drank adrenaline for four days and it leaves you groggy and cranky on the down side.

The ACFW conference changed my life as a writer. I'm a writer now. I've pitched my book. I've schmoozed with industry leaders. I've sat at the feet of master writers. I even placed runner up in big contest. Yeah. It was sweet!

Everyone bases their conference success on different things. Here were my goals: Place runner-up in the Genesis contest and have one agent or editor ask to see more of my work. GOAL ACHIEVED! The first time an agent asked to see more, I think I stared at him slack-jawed. Quickly coming to my senses, I wrote down his contact information and made a note in the journal of my life. I did it.
In my opinion, I was wildly successful in my pitching. I feel that I've gotten validation on the fresh feel of my plot and my ability to creatively communicate the rubber must meet the road.

They've asked to see I have what it takes?

I think of it this way, I'm a good interview. Can I perform at work? They took the bait but will they swallow it? Now the work begins and I'm a little nervous. I've got a lot of requests and they're all for different things. Proposals. Full manuscripts. First three and synopsis. I've SO got my work cut out for me. What seemed polished and ready now needs a face-lift, big time.

I'm a better writer, thanks to the classes I sat in on. Kristen Heitzmann taught a class on Point of View that totally changed everything for me. I get it. I can do it. My writing will be better. Thanks Kristen!
I took a class on Christian love scenes (not to be confused with non-Christian love scenes). I can't wait to take what I've learned to my characters. My, my that will be fun!

Two huge conference moments for me: Meeting my critique group friends. I've forged friendships that I'll take to heaven. These women were the biggest gift of the conference. Thanks for saving me a seat, I'll never forget that moment. I had a friend in a sea of seven hundred people. (Made more new friends than I can count, next year will be such a fun reunion)

Another big moment: Pitching. It was the most nerve wracking thing I've done but looking back, it rocked. I can't wait to do it again. I'm like a pitching thrill-seeker. Find me a scary agent or editor...and bring it on. Wait, I didn't have to hear rejections this weekend....never mind. I'm still a virgin pitcher who has yet to hear..."I'm not interested!" I'm sure that's coming after I send my requested stuff.

So, after conference my life is changed. I'm ready to forge a road into publishing. I learned that although writing is an exciting industry, I'm just a mom after all. That's the most exciting ending I could have imagined. Behind the high-heels and the glittering lip-gloss (TG4 girls-that's for you) I was so excited to come home and be me. Home-school mom, friend, wife and daughter. I think suspense writer is my alter-ego.

I'll let you know how the journey goes...rocky or sweet it may be.

How did conference go for you? Did we meet? Can't wait to solidify our friendships!


  1. Could not have said it better myself. You're an awesome writer and an even more awesome friend. Love you, Kelli. I'm eating some chocolate in your honor.

  2. Mary, you're the best! My life is blessed by you in so many ways and I'm a better writer because of your tight prose! Eat that chocolate because my tummy has been a little rocky since conference. It didn't like the steady diet of adrenaline, I guess.

  3. Loved reading about all you did!! So exciting you are going to be working with publishers. I'm so looking forward to reading Fresh Hop!!

  4. I knew you would have an awesome experience! It's really exciting to know that you were able to accomplish all you wanted and more. Congratulations, Kelli! You know I'll be saying, "I met her on a plane once" when I see your name with Bestseller next to it. Good luck in your writing, not that I think you'll need it.

  5. Good for you Kelli. We will enjoy seeing what else comes are just doing a wonderful job and I can tell how much you enjoy it. So proud of lyou!

  6. Love you conference comments. I was there, too. I can related to all of it.