[NOT the final] When Words Collide 2023
[NOT the final] When Words Collide 2023

[NOT the final] When Words Collide 2023

After 3 years of vir­tu­al pro­gram­ming with When Words Col­lide, I was abso­lutely delighted to be back in Cal­gary in per­son for what was at first touted as the final When Words Col­lide. To every­one’s joy and sur­prise, a new organ­iz­a­tion is tak­ing over this con­ven­tion. The Alex­an­dra Writers’ Centre Soci­ety has big shoes to fill, but with such a tem­plate to work with, I am con­fid­ent next year’s event will be just as great.

What did I get up to over the 3‑day convention?

Fri­day 1 PM — Going Indie: This was a really inter­est­ing pan­el about why we chose to pub­lish our books inde­pend­ently, and how we go about doing it. I learned things from my fel­low pan­el­lists, and also found I con­trib­uted inform­a­tion the oth­ers wer­en’t pre­vi­ously aware of, so it was a nice dis­cus­sion. The room was pretty full and I think folks got a lot out of it. (With Laurie Cun­ning­ham, Alis­on McBain, Katie O’Con­nor, Jim Jack­son, Krista Wallace)

Fri­day 3 PM  — Show Don’t Tell: This pan­el on the craft of writ­ing is always inter­est­ing. Show­ing versus Telling is a super-import­ant part of draw­ing your read­er in with depth of emo­tion; immers­ing them in the world of the book rather than hav­ing them feel like they’re watch­ing from the out­side. So import­ant, yet so tough to mas­ter as a writer! (With Angela Ack­er­man, Chase Degen­hardt, James Alan Gard­ner, Krista Wal­lace, Kev­in Weir as moderator)

Fri­day 5 PM 7‑Fireside Louder, I Can­’t Hear You! I am SO glad I did this work­shop! So often when I attend read­ings, the authors present­ing their work are intim­id­ated by the micro­phone, how to adjust it when it does­n’t fit, how to speak into it without being ter­ri­fied of your amp­li­fied voice [hint: that’s the point of amp­li­fic­a­tion … allow­ing your audi­ence to hear you!] How to hold your book when the mic is in the way, as well as read­ing tech­niques. I received a ton of com­pli­ments at the end of this work­shop, and at least three requests to teach it again at future con­ven­tions. Count me in! I’m happy to help.

Fri­day 9 PM — Fem­in­ine Solu­tions in SFFAn inter­est­ing dis­cus­sion about the roles women can play in fantasy, which of course began with a dis­cus­sion about war­ri­or women [yes, they truly DID exist back in medi­ev­al and earli­er times]. The dis­cus­sion sorta got high­jacked and turned into a dis­cus­sion about fem­in­ism in fantasy, which isn’t exactly the same thing. I was­n’t fully pre­pared for that switch, but it was still an inter­est­ing dis­cus­sion. (With Jenna Greene, Krista Wal­lace, Jen­nifer Lan­dels, Vir­gin­ia Odine, Susan Forest)

Sat­urday 11 AM — Plot­ters and Pant­sers and Points In-Between: I always love talk­ing about my writ­ing pro­cess because oth­er writers find it ter­ri­fy­ing. Even oth­er pant­sers. (for those of you who don’t know what I’m talk­ing about, a “pant­ser” is a writer who writes “by the seat of their pants,” with no real plan, as opposed to writers who write copi­ous notes about how their story will unfold pri­or to begin­ning the writ­ing). I’m happy to say I helped at least one writer in the audi­ence think through how to tackle the end­ing of their nov­el. (With Edward Wil­lett, Chris Marrs, Krista Wal­lace, Chase Degenhardt)

Sat­urday 12 PM — News­let­ters for Writers: As someone who is still build­ing her newsletter/email list I came to this one pre­pared to learn. I learned a few things from my fel­low, more exper­i­enced pan­el­lists, but it was nice to have the bal­ance between them and Sandra and myself, who are both fairly new. I still was able to point out that Word­Press has a news­let­ter plug-in, which oth­ers did not know! Inter­est­ing dis­cus­sion about each pan­el­list’s approach to what they put in their news­let­ter. (With Suzy Vadori, Krista Wal­lace, Sandra Wick­ham, and anoth­er writer who was­n’t included in the pro­gram but it was great that she was there. Her name eludes me, sadly!)

Sat­urday 3 PM — Get Going or Some­thing – work­ing with an account­ab­il­ity part­ner: It was SO good to see my account­ab­il­ity part­ner, Beth, in per­son again for the first time in YEARS! We talked about how we star­ted meet­ing every week after WWC 2020, and haven’t missed a week. We were joined by writer friends Leslie and Bon­nie, whose pro­cess is very dif­fer­ent from Beth­’s and mine, and the audi­ence told me later how cool it was to hear the dif­fer­ent approaches. a lively dis­cus­sion! (With Beth Wag­n­er, Krista Wal­lace, Bon­nie Jac­oby, Leslie Wibberley)

Sat­urday 8 PM Atri­um Auto­graph Session

Sunday 12 PM — How to Write a Series without Los­ing Your Way (or Your Mind): A won­der­ful dis­cus­sion! I really loved this one, talk­ing about my [ter­ri­fy­ing … to oth­ers, not to me] writ­ing pro­cess along­side some pree­m­in­ent series writers. The com­mon thread seemed to be about find­ing organ­iz­a­tion­al tools to keep track of char­ac­ters and events in your story. I got some laughs, so that’s always fun. (With Fonda Lee, Mor­gan Rhodes, Katie O’Con­nor, Krista Wallace)

[Not the final] When Words CollideFour women sit on a panel, laughing. Katie O'Connor, Fonda Lee, Krista Wallace
I must have said some­thing funny — Write a Series Without Los­ing Your Way (or your mind)

Sunday 1 PM — How Do You Cre­ate Believ­able Char­ac­ters? Anoth­er super fun dis­cus­sion! I really enjoyed this one (are you sens­ing a theme?) Believ­able does­n’t have to be “Real­ist­ic.” Turns out it does­n’t even have to be relat­able. It just has to be plaus­ible because of the char­ac­ter­’s wants and needs and if their con­sist­ent, etc. Talked about “writ­ing what you know” versus using your ima­gin­a­tion to build on your own exper­i­ence or what you learn in research. We talked about believ­able vil­lains (who are the her­oes of their own story), and men­tioned Dustin Hoff­man. (With James Alan Gard­ner, D.G. Valdron, Krista Wal­lace, Susan Calder)

Sunday 3 PM — Live Action Slush — Urb­an Fantasy: One of my favour­ite things to do at any con­ven­tion is to be the read­er for the LAS. writers sub­mit their first page, I read it aloud, the pan­el­lists talk about what worked and what did­n’t work for them. I received com­pli­ments on my read­ing from the pan­el­lists, includ­ing Tan­ya Huff! Con­grat­u­la­tions to all the writers who sub­mit­ted their work. It takes a lot of cour­age to have your work cri­tiqued pub­licly! All the sub­mis­sions were really good, I was impressed. (With Krista Wal­lace (read­er), Tan­ya Huff, Mor­gan Rhodes, Robert Bose, Sarah L. Pratt, Randy McCharles)

As you can see, I was very busy over that week­end. But it was Good Busy. Great to see folks I had­n’t seen in ages, great to meet new folks I had­n’t met before… I’m already excited about next year.