Although I have been going to the Ad Astra Convention for several years now, this is the first year (to my knowledge) that they have offered writing and other workshops as part of their programming. If you wanted to attend a workshop but not the rest of the convention, they gave people that option, which was nice in terms of attending flexibility.
- We did several exercises: create a story from nothing, create a story from a character, then one from a theme, and so on. Each taught us something new
- The workshop size was small with just a handful of people, hence more feedback opportunities. We worked in pairs/groups, and it was a convivial atmosphere
- Because it was 2 hours, Julie let us get up and stretch and roam for a bit before returning, then extolled the virtues of a standing desk to us all 😉
- Sometimes starting with an ending and working one’s way back can be helpful
- A nice change of pace not to have the luxury of “you can have a writing session for one hour to over-think this story”
As an aside/amusing observation, I remembered to do and bring everything…except my sample story page. D’oh! But it turns out we didn’t necessarily need it and the workshop went on fine without it, so that was a plus.
I really hope Ad Astra decides to keep workshops as an incorporated part of the overall convention, because there are always a fair number of writers of all levels, not just the professionals, who attend, so it’s nice to have more practical components in addition to the programming and panels that usually go on.