The second annual Mount Mary publishing institute was a great day of networking with authors, agents, and other literary insiders. Beginning with a keynote address by Midwestern author Dean Bakopoulos on plot momentum, the day marched on with a series of breakout sessions. I attended a session on short story and anthology publication that inspired me to look for short story journal submissions with specific themes. I also joined a session with Bakopoulos that was mainly a continuation of his keynote talk on plot momentum. He sold me on the idea of plot as an escalator using key scenes as the steps and thinking about story the way a screenwriter does.
Perhaps the highlight of the day for me was having the opportunity to pitch my novel idea, my yet unfinished continuation of my thesis project, to a literary agent. It really forced me to boil my story down to it’s most basic essence, and it made me think about my novel in a completely different way. I had such a great experience as a student at Mount Mary, and it’s great to be able to connect with familiar faces at events like this. It’s also a fun way to stay inspired.