Cruce Stark, author and professor at the University of Delaware, did a workshop on "Giving Shape to Experience: Plotting Your Story" at the Just Write. Writers Conference held at the Bel Air library. (October 21, 2013)

Seventy-five writers and would-be writers gathered at the Bel Air library to participate in the first Just Write. Writers Conference. Put on by the library, this all-day event included a stellar line-up of workshop leaders and topics.

Presenters included fantasy novelist Gregory Frost, who explored character development, and Sandra Bowman, of Intrigue Publishing, who covered all the ways a fledgling writer can promote themselves and their work.

"This is wonderful thing you are doing," declared presenter Cruce Stark to conference coordinator and Harford County Public Library Community Relations Specialist Bethany Hacker. "Writing can be such an isolating experience and having the opportunity to not only learn but network with others who write is a necessity."

Writer Ben Yagoda and television, novel and memoir writer Tom Coyne echoed Stark's comments.


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Bestselling mystery author Marcia Talley, who did a presentation on how to create an eBook, was pleased with the response from the participants. "They are so engaged and interested," Talley said.

Participant response was met with equal enthusiasm.

"This has inspired me to begin writing without fear. I will accept whatever comes out on the page," commented one participant on their feedback form.

Attendees also had opportunities to engage in casual conversation with the presenters and have their manuscripts critiqued. The Harford Writers Group, the conference's partner organization, talked with potential new members and book sales, especially of those titles dealing with the craft of writing, were brisk. Space at the conference was limited and it was sold out the week before the event. Participants indicated they are looking forward to next year and are eager to know when registration opens up so they can make sure to get a spot.