This is my fourth year attending this massive conference for readers and writers in Calgary. It’s a great opportunity to cram a lot of learning about the writing craft but even better, I’ve gotten to know authors from across the country, so there’s a bonus of social interaction.

I’m posting my notes from some of the sessions on my other website that specializes in writing-related topics.

Having spent many hours wringing my hands, writing dozens of invitations to big names in the writing world and generally trying to organize monthly agendas for our fledgling writing group – Writers’ Community of York Region – for several years, I am amazed at how well this ‘thing’ works. Organized by a dedicated team of volunteers,  WWC attracts 750 people. Last year, there were 700 but the demand was such they figured another 50 eager-beavers could be accommodated.

I attended two Master Classes on Thursday and Friday morning, and they were stellar. Starting Friday afternoons there are 10 fifty-minute sessions running concurrently in conference rooms spread through two buildings. The Delta South hotel is packed and boy, are they happy to see us.

As can be expected, there are varying degrees of excellence in the sessions. No one feels reluctant to get up and sneak out to another session. Sometimes, because two of the ones you want to spend time in run in the same time slot, you have to session-surf to try to catch up.

I’ve volunteered at WWC for the last three years, mostly as an AV person to do laptop hookups and to time-keep, when the presenters cut caught up in their topic and forget that we have to keep things moving quickly.

Yesterday, the presenter was a no-show. I asked the audience of 34 people what they wanted to do – bail or the next presenter (A university professor) and I could ad-lib for 50 minutes about the topic – editing. They wanted to soldier on.

She started with a long discourse about how she teaches and her early life and I thought, “What can I do to save this?” As members of the audience began to slide form the room, I actually interrupted her on a point about looking back at her early life from the perspective of today and asked the audience how they approached editing their work. I hated to do it, but she was way, way off script.

Turned out to be fun. We talked about writing, finding effective critique partners, writing tools like Grammarly, Evernote, Scrivener and Text-to-Speech in Word.

Folks seemed content. I got to present. Fun all around. Unexpected, but hey, as a writer you have to be prepared to deal with the unexpected.