Monday, September 17, 2012

What I Learned at Roundup – The League of Utah Writers’ Conference

            Surrounded by the heavenly beauty of autumn colors, hundreds of authors descended on Park City, Utah, to expand their knowledge of writing and pitch their latest book to one of the many editors and agents present.
            Fairly new to The League of Utah Writers, this was my first Roundup, and I found it fun and informative.  Multiple classes took place at the same time, and it made it hard for writers to decide which classes to attend.  Sometimes the boisterous laughing from the room next door made you want to sneak out and take a peek to see what you were missing.  Other times, you were so caught up in the content of your own class (or the laughing going on in it) that you didn’t even notice the chatter next door.
            Although exhausted and in pain from my Fibromyalgia and recent health setbacks, I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to attend.  Here’s some of what I learned:

1.     Even among writers, not everyone knows what “sweet romance” means.  I was teased immensely by one of the presenters, but it was a wonderful opportunity to spread the word.
2.    I learned that my good friend Sara can get the giggles and not stop laughing.
3.    I learned never to ask an author what their book is about unless you have an hour or two of free time.
4.    Despite authors being reclusive, they adore sharing their love of writing and are open and friendly.
5.     I learned that when the presenter is as good-looking as Barry Eisler, I can’t learn squat in the class.  (If someone has notes, please share them with me.)
6.    In the only romance class taught, almost 50% of those who attended were men.  One of the participants (how also taught one the best classes on suspense) said he admired romance authors because it is the only genre where the ending is pre-determined, and the author must work extremely hard to surprise the reader.
7.    Although Lucas Hunt with Spitzer Literary Agency may be an excellent agent, he should give it up and become a stand-up comedian.
8.    Editors, agents and authors alike reiterated that the query letter is the most important thing you will ever write.
9.    I learned tons on the craft of writing, but I’m not sharing the wealth.  You’ll just have to go next year.  

10.  And finally, the most significant thing I learned is that no matter what point you are in your career, there’s always more to learn.

            Thanks to all of those who worked so hard to put together such an awesome conference.  If you are a poet or an author and not a member, you are really missing out.  Check out:

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Comedy, Suspense…and Dogs!

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos


  1. No fair! I wanna know what you learned at the conference. What's the meaning of not spilling the beans? LOL.

    Please sate this inquiring mind. Everything you posted was so interesting. Now the suspense builds, just like a suspense novel, only...with no ending.

    Maybe...just maybe, one day--when you are feeling benevolent, that is--you could share bits and pieces of the writing courses on future blogs. (I'm serious, here.)

    Thanks for sharing this, Cindy.

  2. Laurean,
    Thanks for commenting. I'm sure all be sharing what I learned after awhile. For now, I'm thinking about the money it cost me to attend. (lol)

  3. This sounds wonderful, Cindy! I can only imagine what a conference like this is like, but you did very well to whet my curiosity to learn more! :)

    Interesting about how the "sweet romance" topic was one that not everyone knew. Did you feel like a duck out of water? :)

    I hope your health issues improve. It must be so difficult to have to deal with them on a daily basis.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I loved hearing about it! :)

  4. Miss Mae,
    You are too kind. Thanks for the well wishes.

    I'm glad the blog sparked an interest. It is a wonderful experience to share your love of writing with others, and I really learned a lot.

    I'm even excited to go back and add what I've learned to my current WIP.

    Yes, I'm surprised how many people have never heard of sweet romance. The teacher stopped the class just to discuss it and kept referring to it over the whole two hours (his was a two part class). ")

    We really need to get the term out there. Any suggestions?

  5. Sounds like great fun! I'm so glad you're out and about. It seems like writers often seclude themselves too much!!
    Thanks for sharing...


I love hearing from you! Thanks for commenting.