I was unable to post anything about yesterday afternoon because I had to run home and host a wine tasting party with several friends. (Of course, the most expensive wine was fairly middling.)
The two sessions I attended were Technology and Being Unforgettable. The technology class was primarily centered around blogging and establishing a web presence for the purpose of marketing your work. There were some good ideas and I'm going to use some of them but the really interesting part of the class was a couple of people who had no idea what a blog was, what internet forums were, or even how to spell www. Most of us were somewhere around my skill/knowledge level and a few were obviously experts in 'web platforms.' This made for a difficult time for the presenter, Scot Herrick, as he tried to keep things worthwhile and interesting for us all.
The next workshop was taught by Laura Whitcomb. She had five techniques, like distilling dialog down to the very essence and creating interesting characters by giving them baggage, for making your manuscript stand out amongst all the others. Her central premise was that if you have an interesting beginning, and really hook the ending into that beginning, you can create a sense of closure and completeness that will leave an agent thinking it was a great read and forgive you any mistakes in the middle. Clever advice and well worth working towards.