The California Crime Writers Conference began life as “No Crime Unpublished,” a writing conference run by the Southern California chapter of Sisters in Crime. Which excellent organization you should join instantly, by the way, if you haven’t already, for their general helpfulness, intelligence, and positive energy. And no, you don’t have to be published to join, or even have two X chromosomes–guys are just fraternal sisters.
Over the past couple of years, SinC has been getting together with the local Mystery Writers of America chapter, for holiday parties and special events, and when they decided to join forces and build a 2-day conference jointly, the CCWC was born.
This is a very well run conference, and well attended, considering the economy. The planners figured that if they got 80 attendees, they wouldn’t actually lose money. They started yesterday’s first panel with 147, and have had walk-ins. More today, with Robert Crais speaking at lunch instead of that King woman.
Particularly effective is the way they have organized the tracks of panels. There are four panels at every slot, each lasting an hour and a quarter (time enough to be thorough, unlike the 50 minute hours of some conferences I’ve been to) and they’re clearly divided in four categories: The Writing Business; The Science, the Experts; Learning the Craft; Getting Published. Inevitably, there’s a certain amount of overlap, and I doubt anyone sticks to one track both days, but it divides up the interest, and clarifies the intent of the panel.
The overall success of the conference means they’ll probably do it again in two years, so put the CCWC on your mental calendar for 2011. And if I’m good today, maybe they’ll invite me back…
Off now to help myself to the gorgeous fruit platter and muffin breakfast, then to listen to Gayle Lynds talk about craft: “You, Too, Can Plot.”
I sure hope so.