I just spent five days attending the Escape the Plot Forest Virtual Summit, a writers’ conference organised by Daniel David Wallace, ex-pat writer, editor and teacher of creative writing based in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Promoted as a complete guide to the plotting process, “first step to first reader” approach to telling stories, by common agreement of the 3000+ attendees, this far exceeded expectations of a virtual event.
Mixing daily prompts, community support, and expert lectures, Daniel’s character-first seminar programme was entirely about the practical application of the approaches, tools and techniques presented in the formal sessions, plus a couple of ‘happy hour’ open forums. Despite the virtual nature of the event, there was plenty of interaction via the live chat and Q and A between speakers and delegates. If you’re yet to be convinced of the notion of ‘being there’ virtually, this was the proof that you really can. After five days and twenty-seven speakers, we all came away with a distinct feeling of community and enough material to last until the next event in mid-2021.
As well as being a warm and generous host, Daniel also presented his “Character-First Novel” seminar over three days of the summit. We’re all hoping this becomes a regular fixture in the writing events calendar.