2011 TMCC Writer's Conference

This is my 4th year attending the TMCC Writer’s Conference and I’m always amazed at what the conference delivers for the price ($99) and this year was no exception. Like many community colleges, TMCC has been hit hard by the economy, the fact that the college ran the conference with its highest attendance ever is a miracle.

Writer and KUNR Broadcaster, David Stipech, opened with a discussion on the writer’s journey. He noted a couple of key points to a writer’s reality check.

· Do you know what you want out of writing?

· Are your setbacks motivating you or stopping you? “No” should be a street sign not a stop sign.

I especially liked his comment that it is okay to feel frustration-people without ambition seldom feel frustrated.

Editor for Writer’s Digest books, Chuck Sambuchino advised writers to approach markets and agents that are small, new or local. He urged writers write to articles for magazines and local papers to establish credentials and to make contacts.

This year the conference featured a book store where attendees could purchase books by the speakers and on the writer’s craft. I scored a copy of Susan Palwick’s The Fate of Mice and she signed it for me prior to her session.

Susan Palwick is a rock star to me. Not only is she a sci-fi novelist and an UNR professor, she also knits socks. Her discussion on the use of setting to advance the story was insightful. Writers should consider how setting rules or limits the characters. Palwick noted that the setting should be as essential as the other elements of the story.

The conference packed plenty of content into a single day, including mini sessions on marketing and screenwriting. Can communities provide artistic endeavors on a tight budget? For TMCC the answer is a resounding Yes!


  1. I can only dream - I might just make it to my very first conference this summer at Murder in the Grove in Boise - fingers crossed.

  2. I checked out some other West Coast conferences and many were well out of my budget. Murder in the Grove sounds like a great conference, keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  3. Thanks for the kind words! I don't believe I've ever been called a rock star before. I'm glad you enjoyed my presentation!

  4. Susan,

    There was so much excellent content from the speakers, it was tough to narrow it down to a few highlights. Thanks for stopping by!


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