WRITE: A Few of My Favorite Things—Reflections on the Florida Christian Writers Conference, Part II
Last week, I shared some highlights of the Florida Christian Writers Conference held Feb. 26-March 2, 2014. Travel and lack of wi-fi kept me from posting the next installment before today. So here are a few more blessings (besides the fact that it’s held in my central Florida backyard) that make this conference one of my favorites:
- Teen Track: led by the indomitable Bryan Davis, the teen writers get more hours per dollar than anyone else at the conference. They work from early morning until early morning (no, that’s not a typo) to offer teaching, critique, companionship, and what looks like lots of fun. Bryan always invites brave adults to join the group as well.
- Balance and Variety of continuing classes and workshops. The offerings change each year, but the quality of instructors, experience, and teaching remains excellent. Conferees have the opportunity to study one topic for extended periods via the continuing classes and also to get shorter bites of information via individual workshops.
- Keynotes: Can you say fantastic? That’s the quality of the keynoters who address the FCWC each year. I loved hearing from a real-life screenwriter, Brent McCorkle, about his process as well as having the opportunity to view his product, the film Unconditional, with his added commentary afterwards. Ellie Kay was nothing short of amazing in her hard-hitting, biblical approach to the life of those who seek to make a difference through their words. And although snowstorms kept FOX News commentator and author Todd Starnes away, this year’s loss is next year’s gain.
- Word Weavers Connection: After twenty-five years under the capable leadership of Director Billie Wilson, the FCWC is now owned by Word Weavers International, LLC. The influence of this organization, dedicated to helping writers improve their craft, gives the conference a special focus on critique along with discounts for its members. Evening critique groups led by Word Weavers mentors allowed interested conferees the opportunity to participate in peer critique sessions. An extra first-page critique session in which the first pages of anonymous works were shown on a screen and critiqued by a team of experts added additional value.
- Extras: The FCWC is planned and executed by experienced, working industry professionals. As a result, the conference offers a number of meaningful bonuses for writers of any level. These include: a Meet-and-Greet reception at the start of the conference; the opportunity to purchase a flash drive containing folders (bios, class and workshop handouts, extra information) from each faculty member; keynote breakfasts that afforeded extra opportunities to hear from our keynoters; and a Saturday night Banquet/Awards Ceremony honoring those who submitted in a variety of categories.
In case you can’t tell, I enjoyed my time at the FCWC and am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Conference Chaplain for the past two years. What a blessing to have a top-notch conference like this in such a wonderful location with a dedicated team working to make and keep it the best. Please join me in praying for FCWC 2015. I’m confident it will be the best yet.
Did you attend this year’s Florida Christian Writers conference? Please share your thoughts and impressions in the comments below. I’d love to hear another perspective