A weblog forum for announcements of writing projects, events, contests and sundry other items for members of West Virginia Writers, Inc. and anyone else who finds them of use.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Conference First Timers Guidelines

We recommend that you register in advance by completing the forms on our web site at www.wvwriters.org/conference.html.

If you plan to stay overnight, be sure to fill out the separate Cedar Lakes form, as well. You'll also need to fill it out if you plan to eat meals there, which I recommend, because it's hard to get out and back without missing a workshop or two.

On the weekend of the conference, stop at the Cedar Lakes office when you enter the grounds. The office is the first building on your right as you enter. You'll get your meal tickets (more like a typed sheet of paper) and your room keys. DO NOT LOSE YOUR MEAL TICKET.

Ask the Cedar Lakes staff to point out the Assembly Hall building for you (they'll give you a map, too, but you can see the building from the office). Come there next and register. If you have pre-registered and prepaid in full, there is usually a "quick line" you can jump to and simply check your name off the list, grab your name tag and goody bag (we always have the best goody bags of any writers conference), and head to step three. If you still need to register, that's fine too. We accept cash and checks, but we cannot accept credit cards at the registration desk (we can accept them online, so if you want to use a credit card, register online NOW through Pay Pal). (Cedar Lakes can accept credit cards for room and meals).

Stop by the reception table for a cold (or hot) drink and a snack.

The Assembly Hall is also where the Writer's Wall competition is located. For the Writer's Wall, participants can bring in a one page piece of poetry and/or prose to anonymously post to the wall (which means, naturally, that your name must not appear on it). There will be a sign up book and an intern to help with the process, assigning each entry a number which conference attendees will be able to vote for using the ballot slip in their goodie bags. The winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet on Saturday night.

Similarly, there will be five total sessions of People's Choice, with prose and poetry sessions on Friday evening and prose, poetry and youth sessions on Saturday. During People's Choice, attendees are invited to read a piece of their own work that must come in at under 5 minutes in length. After all the pieces are read, ballots will be passed out for fellow readers and other attendees to vote on their favorite pieces. Winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet on Saturday night.

You don't have to register for the individual workshops in advance. Just pick them as you go. Some people find that it's easier to print out the schedule (or use the one given to you at registration, which will be the most accurate) and then highlight two classes each session that you're interested in. Then, when the time arrives, you can pick between the two. Some people like to have a "back up class" in case one is overcrowded, or in case you find yourself enjoying a particular track so much that you want to stick with it (poetry vs. non-fiction, for example). We would recommend that you take at least one class outside of your chosen genre; not just for the broadened experience, but because you might find inspiration or a particular nugget of writing wisdom that you can apply to what you're working on. For example, if you write fiction, take a poetry workshop or a nonfiction editing workshop, which can help with your craft.

Be sure to dress light but bring a sweater and an umbrella. It’s an annual tradition that it rains very hard on at least one of the conference days. The classrooms can also be hot. And wear shoes that are comfortable for walking, not only for walking to and from the dining hall but for taking strolls around the grounds of Cedar Lakes.

We also hope you're planning to attend the banquet and stick around for entertainment, as we'll have some nice surprises in store!