Recap: Superstars Writing Seminars 2019

2018 Shannon thought her review of Superstars Writing Seminars was crazy delayed.

2019 Shannon said, “Hold my beer.”

Superstars Writing Seminars 2019 took place the first week of February.

It’s *cough* nearly September and this review is just now being published.

But I don’t think it makes sharing my experience any less valuable, especially since this year I was experiencing it as an alumni, not a newbie.

I still think this is the best writing conference I’ve ever been to. It’s by far the most encouraging, supportive, and positive experience around. I was talking to my friend K recently and we were both remarking how a lot of writing conferences can leave you feeling discouraged and a little beaten down by the process and the amount of luck that is required to get a book all the way to publication if you’re going the traditional route.

Which isn’t to say Superstars doesn’t tell it like it is. They absolutely do. They just reinforce the messaging with a heavy dose of encouragement and support.

I keep thinking of this quote from Game of Thrones: “A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing.”

And I think the same could be true of writers. Though writing is a solitary endeavor, writers need community if they’re going to survive the process. There’s no other way. The odds are too heavily stacked against you to carry that weight on your own. You need people around you to wipe your tears, give you a hug, and cheer the loudest for you when you succeed.

That’s what Superstars is all about. Come for the knowledge, stay for the lifelong friends you’ll make and the tribe that welcomes you back year after year.

Though the details of this year’s event have gotten fuzzier with time, I do want to mention a few highlights from this year’s conference:

-Craft day continues to be the best investment in terms of learning craft that you can make. This year I got to listen to Jim Butcher talk about developing characters and it was mind-blowingly good. Also Jim Butcher is a great storyteller – and not just on paper. If you ever have the chance to see him talk, you should take it. 10/10 would recommend.

-The VIP dinner continues to be one of the highlights of the whole conference. Yes, it’s an extra expense. Yes, there’s no guarantee you’ll get to sit with your first or even second choice author or editor. But the people who come to Superstars are of such high quality, your evening won’t be a waste no matter whose table you end up at. Just make sure you study the faculty list before you go so you don’t *almost* end up asking Jeffrey Deaver who he is. Not that I know from experience or anything.

-If you can afford it, absolutely stay at the hotel. Again, this isn’t cheap. But Superstars is the middle of winter and after the conference ends for the day, the lobby bar is the place to be. Friendships are cemented, writers groups are formed, and books are birthed with the help of a cocktail or two. It’s worth it to be able to part of that experience and not have to worry about driving somewhere in the snow at night.

I’m planning to head back to Superstars again this year for the third year in a row! If you’re interested in learning more about the event and snagging a discount code, reach out to me!

4 thoughts on “Recap: Superstars Writing Seminars 2019

  1. disperser says:

    Butcher is one of two writers I like (and he’s late with his Dresden book, but that’s another story).

    I looked up the schedule and location (to think I used to live in Colorado Springs and never heard of this).

    However, the conference seems pricey, especially at this late stage.

    I’m still unsure just how much networking I’d be able to do (kind of goes against the way I’m wired) so that makes the cost even more a dubious investment.

    Still, I’ll keep it in mind.

    • Shannon Fox says:

      It is a bit pricey but comparable than others especially when you break down how many days it is. There is also a scholarship option which has gotten a lot of people there! I would say the conference does a good job of helping a much of introverts become friends and network. I’m am abivert so I don’t find networking a big deal but I definitely met many people I would say are very introverted/socially awkward and they seemed to be in hog heaven and interacting with other people. Plus the instructors and guests are all really approachable and just around. The hotel is kind of dead that time of year so most people are there for the conference and looking for a group to eat with.

    • disperser says:

      There’s also the “undefined goal” aspect. I don’t have a clear idea of the hoped-for goal.

      I attended Viable Paradise with the assumption I’d start building a network, make contacts, and learn a few things. It didn’t really pan out as cliques were difficult to break into and the teachers (while approachable) didn’t seem all that interested in the students as individuals (except for a few with prior familiarity).

      It didn’t help that a lot of the socializing involved drinking which is something I don’t do. Hanging around people who are getting progressively “happier” isn’t exactly conducive to forming relationships unless one also partakes. Which is a big hesitation when I hear how much of the experience involves bars/lounges and drinks. And, yes, people have said “you don’t need to drink” but they fail to take into account the disparity between people who’ve had a number of drinks and people who haven’t.

      Understand, I’m not bitching, complaining, or otherwise playing the victim; just stating a fact based on prior experience. There’s also the age difference which — while I don’t feel it — is a thing. I’m 66 and a bit of an odd sort when it comes to social/political/religious matters which always seem to creep into conversations (I’d rather talk about writing).

      Anyway, probably not 2020 (other stuff going on) but I’ll keep it in mind for 2021. Thanks.

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