Going Back Each Year Now Feels Like Going Home
I have attended Paradise Lost now for four years, and I’ll go back again and again.
1. Great pro/neo-pro ratio. With about 15 attendees and 3-4 pros each year, it’s just big enough. You get time to talk to everyone and you feel like you are having some great, substantive discussions with both your peers and the pros.
2. New and Returning attendees. I find large conventions to be a bit hard to meet new people AND remember them. Paradise Lost is a fertile ground for reconnecting with friends and making new ones because the size, schedule and venue allow for a lot of up and down time in small groups and together.
3. The “Alumni” Effect. Because everyone has been through a similar workshop experience – Viable Paradise, Clarion, Taos Toolbox or something similar, we’re all bringing a shared experience to the table when it comes to critiques – both giving and receiving. No hyperventilating or fragile writer egos here.
4. The Creative Refresh. I need at least once a year to get together with people and jump start the creative batteries, and this does it for me every year. Sometimes, attending my local convention or my local writer’s group just isn’t enough.
5. San Antonio as a venue is beautiful, and, honestly, it’s a workshop/retreat that I can afford – both time and money.
I made my first pro sale after attending two years ago, and going back each year now feels like going home.
The Best Weekend You’ll Have in Texas
“Paradise Lost” should consider changing its name. To me, it’s Paradise Revisited, or Paradise Remembered, or simply, Good Times with Writers, Drinks Included.
I attended Viable Paradise 16 in 2012, and desperately wanted to repeat that experience. However, since that wasn’t possible, I decided to take a chance on Paradise Lost in 2014 because I needed a serious writing workshop that wouldn’t eat up all my vacation time or money.
I was NOT disappointed. Sean Kelley has put together a really smart workshop – just large enough to get some diversity and make a friends, but small enough that you have time to work, to edit, to crit, and get some personal attention from the teaching staff.
I would also add that San Antonio in May is a truly pleasant place, just hot enough to enjoy cold beverages and evening strolls, and the Drury Hotel is well situated and funky. (Don’t forget to check out the old bank vault in the basement.)
After my long weekend at Paradise Lost, I polished up a trunk story and sold it to Buzzy Mag. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
So fire up your word processor, pack your bag, and practice your best Cards Against Humanity strategies: it’s time to go to the Texas.
Karl “Spit Take” Dandenell
Come For the Knowledge, Stay for the Brisket
Writing is a solitary sport. Paradise Lost remains one of my favorite ways to stay connected to fellow neo-pro writers. Well run, well attended and well worth the modest investment.
Paradise Lost Reconnected Me
“Ultimately, Paradise Lost reconnected me with my alumni group, my writing, and my dubious relationship with Texas BBQ. I will be forever grateful for two of those things.”