The latest in my series of unique adventures put me in front of a room full of writers, to give a talk about science fiction and paranormal fiction as a part of a writer’s workshop series. I’ll admit, the vague and massive topic made me a touch nervous. I had a fear that somewhere there was a detailed note describing what I was actually supposed to talk about, and the class would sit and watch me with puzzlement as I talked about exactly the wrong thing.
Fun sidestory: this happened to me back in high school. After being sick for a couple of weeks, I came back to do a staged reading for my grade 10 drama class. Trouble is, I had no idea what a staged reading actually was, so I just sat in a chair and read out loud from a book. My teacher had a look of pity on his face as he gently explained afterwards how I had gone wrong. Funny that an embarrassing microstory like that can stick with you for decades. Probably should let that one go.
Anyway, back to the writer’s workshop. Despite my misgivings, I plowed ahead with the presentation I wanted to give. I spoke about the world of Speculative Fiction, and the important role “What if?” stories play in our lives.
The talk went pretty well. The crowd spoke up when they were a little confused (which I always appreciate) and they added in their own opinions and perspectives. After my session was done, I had a chance to speak with the attendees on a one on one level. I discovered that one of the attendees has 13 novels written, and several others had their own books out in the real world for sale. I’m not gonna lie: For a moment, I was afraid that I had spent the whole 2 hours telling more experienced writers how to do their job.
But each and every one of them enjoyed the talk and thanked me for giving them a better understanding of a genre that they weren’t familiar with. And during the back and forth interaction, there were a handful of practical questions and suggestions that caught me by surprise. All of a sudden, I was learning too. How did that happen?
My lessons learned from this adventure:
- I really love talking to a room full of people.
- The room full of people will teach me as much as I teach them.