Wednesday, April 22, 2015

At a Writer's Conference? Suggestions for Making Small Talk

This weekend, April 24-26, 2015, the Wisconsin Romance Writers are hosting the 2015 Write Touch Conference at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, featuring Mary Buckham, who will give a workshop called, “Down and Dirty Ways to Create Stronger Characters.” Also there will be many agents, writers and editors like: Jade Lee, Cindy Dees, Damon Suede, Jessica Sinsheimer, Shauna Summers, Candace Havens, Nicole Resciniti, Sara Megibow, and Mary Altman.

Mary Buckham

I’m looking forward to attending and meeting everyone, but at the same time, I’m shy and I can be a little socially awkward. In the hopes of helping myself as well as others, I’ve decided to research and post thirteen writing conference conversation starters.

     1. What’s your favorite book?
2. Do you write? What would you love to have your writing compared to?
3. What sessions are you looking forward to the most?
4. Who is your favorite author?
5. What have you read recently? Why did you like or dislike it?
6. What’s the best thing you've discovered at this conference so far?
7. Why did you decide to come to this conference?
8. Where’s the bathroom? (This is probably not the best opener, but at least I’ll get an “I don’t know” response.)
9. Did you attend _____'s talk? What was your take-away?
10. Would you like a glass of water? Cup of coffee?
11. What’s your favorite day of the week? Why?
12. Do you like pets?
13. Do you write? What are you working on?

Okay, I think I’m almost ready to (gulp) chat up new people, but if you can think of any other good conversation openers, please leave them in the comments.

I’d appreciate the advice. Thanks.



  1. This is a great idea, looking at social settings almost like interviews that I do prepare questions for. My problem would be I'd need a cue card to remember these. How about (for writers) 'where do you get your ideas? and where and how do you write?'

    1. Colleen,
      Yeah, those are good questions. Thanks.

  2. Good questions, but 2 and 13 are the same -- perhaps replacing one with where are you from would be a good idea? And speaking of books/writing, I'm talking about Little Free Libraries this week. Have fun at the conference!

    1. Okay, I'm adding "Where are you from?" to my conversation cheat sheet. Thanks.

  3. #13 would be my favorite. Except that at writing conferences, I just assume everyone there writes. I've been wrong a few times, but not often enough to matter.

    1. Hmm. You could be right--most people there will have a story or two in tow. :)

  4. You could ask questions like: what TV show are you watching that you think has the best writing? Same with movies. And of course ask why they think that.

  5. CountryDew,

    Yeah, I'm adding your questions to my list of stuff to ask. Thanks.

  6. Those are some great conversation starters! I could use some of those in my writing/reading classroom. Thanks!