This weekend, Kristin and I went to Realm Makers, a convention for Christian speculative fiction writers. It was a lot different from the conventions we normally attend.
Some of those ways were disappointing--there were a lot fewer parties, and those parties were much more structured, with a lot of announcements and prizes, but less time for socializing that I'd expect at a party. Also, pretty much every event, from the awards, lunch and dinner (which were mostly provided), and the parties, were sponsored by one publisher or editor or another, which meant that each event would contain a lengthy spot for that sponsor to advertise themselves, usually by talking about what they do. Now, some of this should be expected, but I would have preferred if the promotional spots were more in line with two minutes rather than ten.
But on the other hand, its classes were much more focused, led by a single expert rather than a panel, and generally more instructive. I mostly attended a continuing session led by David Farland, a famous writer who has mentored a lot of other even more famous writers, such as Brandon Sanderson and Stephenie Meyer.
This was probably the most productive conference I've ever been to. Now, I've been to large conferences like World Fantasy and Worldcon, as well as local ones like Boskone and Readercon. And I've met a lot of great people at them. But perhaps because this was a small conference, 150 as opposed to thousands, I've never had a chance to meet so many successful authors and publishers, or to pitch to two agents, or attend a masterclass on writing run by David Farland. I think I learned more, made more connections, and made more progress in my own writing than any other con I've attended. So it was definitely a worthwhile experience.
Of course, the main reason Kristin and I went to this conference was so we could recruit people for a project we're working on. I'll be announcing that on this blog in the next few days.