Tag Archives: In Print Festival

Attending a Literary Event

Okay, this is something that has been a long time in the making, because, frankly, I didn’t like the way is sounded when I first wrote it. But anyway…

About a month ago, the English department at my University put on several literary events, including a Grad School Panel and one on one (well, one on twenty really) sessions where local authors would come in to talk to students.

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One of the best events put on this semester was the In Print Festival (this event takes place annually at Ball State University). It’s a two night event – night one a reading, night two a Q&A session – where local emerging authors visit the campus. This year there were some pretty colorful character there, including:

1) Eugene Cross with his book Fires of Our Choosing, (Interview)

2) Marcus Wicker with his book of poetry Maybe the Saddest Thing, (Interview) and

3) Elena Passarello with her book Let Me Clear My Throat. (Interview)

Each author was extremely talented and interesting to talk/listen to. However, there are certain things you want to do before attending a literary event.

1) Do research – Just like when you’re getting ready to query or pitch a story, you want to do a little research about the guest authors attending the event. You don’t have to go nuts, but read up a little about them, and if you can’t find the information, don’t worry about it then.

2) Bring a copy of the authors’ work(s) with you – When the reading is finished, if allowed, go up to the author and ask them to sign your book. It’s a great time to talk to the author real quick about their work. I talked with all three guest authors at In-Print, and it was extremely rewarding.

3) Read a little of the work – You don’t necessarily have to read the entire book/collection, but it’s a good idea to read a little to get a feel of the author’s style. You may discover a new favorite author/book, plus you will have more to say to the author than: “I liked your book.”

4) Pen and Paper – Now, I’m not saying you should sit there and actively take notes like you’re in a seminar, but it’s a good idea to have a pen and paper tucked away somewhere so you can jot down any advice you find helpful.

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These are the more important things to keep in mind when going to a literary event, especially if you’re going for more than just the reading. In all my time at college, I’ve never experienced a group of authors quite like the ones at In-Print this year. It was extremely entertaining and something I wouldn’t have missed, and neither should you.

Look for literary events going on in or around your town. There aren’t any? Get some people together and put one on yourself!

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10 Things…

…I Hate About You. Just kidding!. Love the movie though. No, but really: 10 Things I Learned About Being a Writer… This week.

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This week my university hosted quite a few literary events. 1) the Grad panel about MFA programs for creative writers. 2) In-Print Festival Round 1: Readings. 3) In-Print Festival Round 2: Q&A Panel. Not to mention various classroom visits by all four of the talented In-Print authors – Marcus Wicker, Eugene Cross, Elena Pasarello, and Sarah Wells. But anyway…

What have I learned?

1) Build a writing community OUTSIDE of school. Writing is a very solitary activity, and once you’re out of school, you don’t really have that community anymore.

2) Give your manuscript draft to people you trust. While you’re still in the editing process, ask someone you trust to take a red pen to it. It makes the process a little less daunting when you know that person won’t take your work for granted.

3) You can’t call yourself a writer if you don’t write. Enough said. – Marcus Wicker

4) Don’t be afraid of rejection. I know, easier said than done. Trust me, I know. I cringe away at the thought of possible rejection, but without rejection there can be no progress. And if that one publishing company or literary magazine rejects you, they’re probably not right for you. Go back, edit, revise, reread, resubmit.

5) Don’t let life get in the way of writing. It’s all too easy to let everyday things like bills, work, family, and everyday stress get in the way of your writing. Set time aside each day or week to just sit down and write. Find yourself stuck – read, and read a lot, until something jostles lose in your brain and then return to that blank page.

6) Don’t be afraid of the blank page. Write. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. It doesn’t even have to be good, it just has to be written. So write!

7) Don’t be afraid of “The Abyss.” That long dark emptiness between projects. Every author faces it. Just push through it, even when it seems difficult or impossible. -Cathy Day

8) Be open to the idea of change. During editing, always be open to the idea of change, maybe there’s an idea you never considered. In the end, it’s usually up to you, but at least hear others out.

9) Grad School, it’s not for everybody. If you decide you want to go, you don’t have to become a professor when you’re finished either.

10) Write. Write. Write. Write. Write. It’s the only way you’ll get things done. But don’t try to set impossible deadlines, like completing a book by the end of the year. Because you will get discouraged and not want to return to the project all that soon.

I wish that flowed as smoothly as Kat’s “10 Things” poem in the movie “10 Thing I Hate About You,” but alas. I do not write poetry, couldn’t if I tried. It will always allude me – the 11th thing I learned this week.

El fin.

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