All Aboard the Terror Train to Provo

Image by Mohamed Nuzrath from Pixabay

I love going to writing conferences. Those people are my clan. I’ve done the symposiums at GenCon (I highly recommend those), I’ve attended multiple writing conferences, some good, some bad. One conference was so bad it imploded. (That’s another story.)

But those conferences are where I sit and learn, not where I get critiqued. If I want to think about getting published, I need critiques from people who have made the journey I’m embarking on.

Glancing through Twitter I found the Futurescapes Writer’s conference, and thought, what the heck? I have wanted to learn from Mary Robinette Kowal since I picked up my first MRK book.  I love her stories. She makes me laugh; she makes me cry. Sometimes she makes me ashamed and sometimes she makes me angry. She always makes me think.  Who the heck wouldn’t love to sit and learn from someone like that?

On a lark, I applied. They asked for a 1500 word writing sample. I knew right away I wanted to submit a complete story rather than just “here, have fifteen hundred random words with no meaningful conclusion.” So, I wrote Glitch, a story based in a world I’ve been toying with for a long time. His name is Glitch, and Glitch is what he does. Poor guy.  But he did save the day, so let that be a lesson that someone you consider worthless may end up just saving your butt someday.

Shock of shocks, they accepted me.  So, the faculty is Mary Robinette Kowal. Dan Wells. Fran Wilde. More agents than you can shake a stick at. If there ever was a reason to have a panic attack, it’s because you are going to be showing your heroes your heart. 

The schedule arrived in my inbox the other day, I have three twelve-hour days of setting myself up for panic attacks. So why not sign myself up for extra master classes? If I’m going to show my heart to my writing heroes, I might as well go all the way and learn as much as I can.  

I submitted a three-thousand-word sample for critique, again I wanted to submit something complete. The last thing I wanted to do was submit a scene and reach my word limit just before the climax, so I scaled down what I have always considered my first chapter. My amazing writing group beta read it, helped me with it, and encouraged me. Have I mentioned I love these people? If not, I love these people. *Love* them. They’re amazing.

I emailed my first chapter in on Wednesday, I think at some point I’ll get a link to a Google Drive to read my fellow writers’ work. I know I’ll feel completely intimidated by them. I’m both looking forward to reading some awesome genre fiction and already fighting the inevitable imposter syndrome that’s lurking on the horizon.

So here I sit, waiting for the freight train to come rolling around the bend and run me over. Let the panic begin.


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