Sunday, January 29, 2012

Notes from the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference

Matthew Vollmer taught with a stomach virus.
A lot emerged from the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference at Hollins University Friday and yesterday, not the least of which was Doug Kovarik's suggestion that we make the conference an on-going event, via the Internet. I'm going to see if I can revive the blog I created three years ago.

Problem is that I forgot the dang password and I'll have to re-imagine that before I can do anything. What Doug was looking for, I think, is a good clearing house for the kind of information area and regional writers will want on a regular basis. This can be furnished by the writing community, which I would like to have direct access to the blog so it can contribute as needed.

Sarah Beth Jones
We have settled already on our keynote speaker for next year: author Gina Holmes, who was quite a hit this year. We'll have one other speaker, as well. Roland Lazenby and Cathy Hankla were good Friday night.

Here are some informal awards:
Gina Holmes

Guttiest Performance: Matthew Vollmer of Virginia Tech had a stomach virus Friday night, slept one hour, called me at 7 a.m. saying he was near death and couldn't make it. He showed up, taught his class and was a huge hit.

Highest Ratings: This is one that has been dominated in the past two years by Dave Cohan, a lawyer from Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, who has presented a dynamite class on writers' legal rights and responsibilities. Dave was up there again this year, but my pal Sarah Beth Jones tied him at the top. Others with excellent marks from students included Matt Vollmer, Brooke McGlothlin, Doug Cumming, Maryke Barber, Michael Miller and Jim Minnick. The satisfaction level overall was quite high.

Chris Powell
The What Are You Expecting Award. A woman e-mailed me the week of the conference and asked if the $60 registration fee included the hotel room. I would love to see a hotel room she would consider acceptable.

Most Consistent Complaint: We cut off coffee at noon and stopped the water at the main table at the same time (thought there are several water fountains on the floor). The coffee vendor once told me that those attending the Writers Conference drink more coffee than any other group that meets at Hollins. By a lot.

MVP: As always, Chris Powell of Hollins who gets the details right and makes the conference run smoothly. Chris keeps a low profile, but she's the star.

1 comment:

  1. I loved Sara Beth Jones' talk. She should be a stand-up comedienne. Her talk was right on with my do's and don'ts philosophies as a freelancer. Beth Macy has so many awesome stories to tell. Honestly, I could sit and listen to her all day and never get bored. Dave Cohan's talk about copyright scared me but in a good way! Thanks for an exciting day. The introvert in me needs to remember to network more -- that's something I wished I'd done. You know what might help (and yes, this sounds hokey)? Name tags.