Dobsons 411

Hanging on for the ultimate ride--God's great adventure.
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Location: Oregon

The author of fourteen contemporary and historical novels, Melanie Dobson lives with her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her latest novels are Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor and Chateau of Secrets. More info at

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The ACFW Roller Coaster Ride

It took me a month to prepare for last week's trip to Dallas—writing a new proposal, researching editors, figuring out what to wear (the most important part). I was excited and nervous as my personal roller coaster ride was finally getting ready to race out of the station, and when it was my turn, I hopped into the car, clutched the padded bars across my shoulders, and braced myself for an intense four-day ride--otherwise known as the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference.

Racing through turns
The conference schedule lurched me forward the minute I arrived in Dallas and catapulted me around the first and then the second turn, building momentum as the wind rushed by. I hugged friends I haven’t seen in years. Attended great workshops on comedy and suspense and writing from the heart. Worshipped the Lord with new friends from around the world. It was exhausting. Exhilarating. And my knuckles turned white as the car whisked me toward the towering hill ahead.

Creeping toward the sky
Pitching editors is a huge part of a writer’s conference. The unnerving portion that some people anticipate while others dread. I’m someplace in between. It was a slow climb between meetings. I could almost hear the clickety-clack of the wheels climbing the steep hill as I rehearsed (yet again) the short pitch of my latest proposal. One I was really excited about. One I was hoping an editor would love.

Plunging down the hill
I shifted in my seat as one of the editors asked me questions, thumbed through my synopsis, and read through my pages. I waited for her enthusiastic declaration to read more, but she said it needed work (in the nicest way possible, of course). My stomach sank as the car plummeted toward the ground. I smiled as I left. Grateful for her input. Disappointed with the verdict. But with the hectic pace, I had no time to reflect. I was on to the next meeting before I could recover.

Flying around loops
The second the car hit the bottom of the hill, it rocketed back up and shot me through a loop. My head hung down, my feet kicked the air. Completely out-of-my-control. I met with an agent who thought my work had potential. Signed books for people whose lives had been touched by adoption. Talked about my girls and my books and the bumps on my writing journey.

Cruising toward the finish
During the last few hours of the conference, God prompted a dear friend to encourage me with a hug and words that could only have come from Him. After a few tears, it was a smooth ride into the station.

Thank you to everyone at ACFW for coordinating this event! I’m not ready to jump back on the ride just yet, but I have a feeling that next year, I’ll be racing up and down the hills again.


Blogger Vennessa said...

Oh Mel! How I would have loved to have been there with you. Maybe next year. :-)

Thank you for sharing your experience.


5:40 AM  

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