Friday, June 26, 2015

Mission: Amazing

By Piper Scherkenbach

Before I say anything else, I want to thank all the staff that made this year’s conference possible. I also want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to attend by offering me a scholarship. It was an amazing three days and one of the best experiences a writer could ask for.

The overload of information I gathered at the conference bogged down my mind for a few days… or a few weeks. All I could think about was writing. Is my plot exciting enough to not put people to sleep? Are my characters being tortured enough by the conflict? And then, after One Moment in Time: Writing Scenes, presented by Cara Lopez Lee, I ended up dissecting each and every one of my scenes.

There’s a lot to take away from a huge conference like this, but the thing that stands out most in my mind was the use of psychology. One workshop mentioned the psychology of color, and another Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As a college student with a psychology minor, this instantly jumped out at me. It was one of those ‘duh’ moments. A light bulb just went off, saying, “Gee, genius. Maybe you should apply this to your writing.” I’d never even considered how much psychology is woven into writing. Understanding how people’s minds work is important to invoking the reactions you want from your readers. Writing feels like reality, but if we wrote it like reality we’d leave the readers wondering what the heck was happening. So how do people perceive reality? That’s really the question we need to ask.

Every moment had its merit. Every workshop gave me the knowledge I needed to become a better writer. Even if at times I already knew the information presented, the reiteration strengthened my understanding of the how's and why's.

With one final statement I’ll say this: PPWC felt like home to me. Surrounded by fellow writers, I finally felt like part of the group. As an introvert, I tend to avoid interactions, but being with writers flips a switch that turns me into a social butterfly. And it feels amazing. One word to describe it all: Amazing.

This blog from Piper is part of the series of posts written by PPWC15 scholarship attendees.