Monday, August 11, 2008

San Francisco, Day 5: Interesting Speakers, Unique Life Experiences

And we’re up to Day 5 in San Fran! This was the first “full” day of the conference, meaning continental breakfast started in the ballroom at 7:30 a.m. and the panels didn’t finish until 7:30 p.m. And there was a luncheon in there, so not many breaks!

It was wonderful, though. Heard some wonderful speakers, including but not limited to:

  • The writers for Guiding Light and As The World Turns soap operas. To be honest, I haven’t watched any soaps since high school, but their presentation was quite informative. A panel of sassy, smart women who are valued in their field and they offered tips on keeping the reader/viewer interested from day to day.

  • Hollywood screenwriter Blake Snyder gave a 2-hour presentation on screenplay structure and how it can be applied to the novel. This was one of the best panels I attended. While Hollywood has strict rules about when certain events need to happen in a screenplay format, I still found his general notes valuable, entertaining, and worth attending. If any of you saw Disney movies in the late 90s, you might remember Blank Check about the kid who gets 1 million dollars. Blake Snyder co-wrote that screenplay.

  • Nora Roberts Q&A. I’ve heard her Q&A presentations before, but I always enjoy them. She’s one of the most honest people you’ll ever meet, as well as always being entertaining with an audience.

  • The Agent Cartel. This was a panel of literary agents who each gave mini-presentations along with participating in a general Q&A session afterward. This is always a valuable session to attend. Not only is it informative, but it gives writers a chance to see potential agents interact with each other, with an audience, and gives us a hint about general personality.

    As far as cool life experiences, I had dinner at the diner where American Graffiti was filmed. Such an iconic and fascinating experience being there. It was within walking distance of the hotel, and there were photos of the movie and James Dean on every wall.

    On my last night, we ate at Wolfgang Puck. Another one of those “glad I could say I did it” experiences.

    Stay tuned for Day 6 and 7!

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