A Brief Report on the Writing Industries Conference

The Writing Industries Conference was great.  I’ve never before met so many writers in one place and in spite of lots of news of the demise of print in recent months the attitudes were mostly positive.

Although I’ve been to a number of games conferences and shows – some are huge events with thousands of people attending – this was the first time I’ve ever been to a more general writing event of this nature.  So to be invited to act as a panellist and give a short workshop was a great honour.

One of the things I love about sitting on panels or giving talks or, in this case, doing a workshop, is that it focuses my ideas and helps me to clarify my own thinking in certain matters.  I also get to learn a lot, both from fellow panellists and from the questions that people ask.

Questions are a vital part of a conference and certainly an important way for me to discover what it is that people – other writers – want to learn.  It can often be difficult to work out what they don’t know without them asking questions.  Game writing has lots of things in common with writing for other media, but it’s the differences that people don’t see or have no knowledge of that is important and I hope my workshop at least gave a few pointers in this respect.  In a half hour workshop I was only able to scratch the surface.

The keynote speech to the event was given by Graham Joyce – a novelist who writes with a very unique voice and who has won a number of important awards over the years.  Although he willingly admits that the printed page is likely to come to an end – or be vastly reduced – he was actually very positive and encouraged writers to think beyond a narrow writing field and consider other areas, too.  He also touched on the idea that writers should not only be aware of new media, they should embrace it as both a possible outlet for their writing and a way of marketing themselves.

The panels I looked in on were interesting and gave an insight into other aspects of more traditional publishing, but also showed how e-books are becoming a real force to be reckoned with.  I think it was Richard Birkin who said that tools will soon be available that will allow authors to deliver their work in e-book form themselves and the possibility of cutting out the publisher altogether is becoming closer to reality all the time.

The biggest things I took away from the conference were:

  1. That it’s great to share with other writers and simply chat to them.  Working from home can be very isolating at times and it’s refreshing to attend events of this nature.
  2. If I want to get my novel finished I need to really get my finger out.  The only way to get things done is to do them.