A week ago, my husband and I attended WhedonCon as vendors, hawking my etsy jewelry / key chains. (If you haven’t seen my store, check it out here.) This basically entailed sitting in my booth for two and a half days and chatting with people, occasionally switching with my husband, which gave me a chance to see the panels. WhedonCon is based around the works of Joss Whedon, who is a fantastic writer, director, and world-builder. There’s a lot to be learned from his works, especially for me, since his works often combine horror and humor flawlessly. This was our second year at WhedonCon, so we knew the ropes a bit better and were able to relax. That said, just because I was on the clock for my Etsy work doesn’t mean I was off the clock as a writer. There were a lot of little things I learned that will stick with me; I’m just going to present the first here, but my next post will have a few more.

One of my favorite panels was the screenwriter panel. It was unfortunately much shorter than I would have liked, but nevertheless provided some very helpful tips. These were my favorite:

  • If you can do literally anything else and be happy, do that. If you can only write to be happy, then you should write.
  • Your story may be amazing, but that doesn’t mean it appeals to everyone. A rejection doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of your work, but can simply reflect the preference of the person you are soliciting.
  • By the same token, you need to be aware of what the agent is looking for because your story description can be changed to match the needs of the agent. The example given was Casablanca. It could be marketed as a love story, a spy story, a war story, etc. Know your audience and vary your elevator pitch.
  • One of the screenwriters didn’t start writing until his late 40s. It’s never too late to start!
  • Write what you want to write. Everything has already been done. It’s the WAY you do it that matters.
  • On that note, yes, sometimes your brilliant idea will be taken just before you attempt to sell yours. It doesn’t matter. Keep working on your script (or book, in my case).
  • The job is hard, but rewarding. It’s worth all the blood, sweat and tears.

I wish I could remember who said what so I could correctly attribute the ideas, but my memory fails me. The writers in attendance were: El De la Pena, Matthew D Hunt, and Joe Ochman.

I’d add a followup, but I think these lessons pretty much speak for themselves. KEEP WRITING!