So Many Choices at PPWC 2018!

Scholarship recipient, Alice Andersen, shares her experiences from 2018 PPWC, Don’t Quit!

When I attended PPWC 2018, it was my second writing conference experience. For me, the conference was like entering a candy store. Each session offered tempting choices between craft, publishing, marketing, roundtables, and panel discussions. Sadly, it was impossible to have it all. Yikes! How could I choose one over another when I had so much to learn?

Because I had a complete but unpublished manuscript, my focus was not only on the craft sessions, but on that dreaded thing called networking. For me, Networking could be the title of a Stephen King horror film. I did my best though and found that among writers, conversations practically start themselves. I came away with several entertaining stories and a stack of business cards for keeping in touch. Not bad for an introvert.

And to my delight, I found that when I skipped a session to work as a volunteer, there were even more chances to speak with writers and compare notes. In addition, the keynote speakers, Laurell K Hamilton, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jonathan Mayberry, and Bob Mayer, shared enough of themselves to not only provide inspiration, but add to a sense of community and belonging.

Read & Critique

The Read & Critique was new to me. What a nerve-wracking opportunity, to read a page of my writing to a room full of people. I was unhappy with the first page of my finished manuscript and debated whether or not to read something less than my best. The answer was easy. Not a chance! I read my favorite opening from an unfinished work instead. I have to say the agent in charge, Gabrielle Piraino, was harsh and honest and filled with great ideas on ways to improve the page. I gave her my best and she told me how to make it better. Yes, it was painful to have my work shredded, but her ideas made for a better opening and I needed to hear them.

Query Day

Saturday was query day and a chance to share good, bad, and ugly ideas with an agent. Suffice it to say, I had all three. Query appointments should include a lie detector test so we know what those agents really think. If not a lie detector, maybe a choice of two buttons for them to push; one that emits diabolical laughter and another that shoots out confetti.

And not to deflect, but was that an over-used semi-colon in the above paragraph? After meeting a few editors at the conference, I know just who to ask.

Layering and Editing

My surprising top take-away came from the final two sessions on Sunday. Faced with info overload, I expected to be a little tuned out on that last day. Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed a session on layering. Callie Stoker’s presentation, along with her colorful method and hands on demonstration about editing, was just what I needed to make my own work shine.

With so many useful presentations at PPWC, I’ll be studying my notes for weeks to come. The awesome presenters, the hard-working volunteers, and the keynote speakers all gave me the knowledge and the inspiration I need to keep on writing. For now though, I have to visit Amazon. There are books to buy, authors I’m hyped to read, and many more choices and ideas brought home from the conference to focus on. Thanks to the PPWC crew for a great conference experience!

If you, or someone you know, would like to apply for one of PPW’s scholarships please start here to learn more and to fill out your application. Deadline to apply is January 11, 2019.


Alice AndersenAlice Andersen discovered a renewed love for writing after moving to the Western Slope of Colorado. She returned to school to earn a literature degree from Colorado Mesa University, after which she completed her first detective novel. She is currently at work on the second. She dabbles in speculative fiction and fantasy, and has several short stories published. As a military spouse, Alice has lived in numerous locations but she grew up on the Gulf Coast and remains a Texan at heart.

Join her on Twitter @AliceAndersen4