Scholarships not only help make dreams come true for students, but also professors as Lone Star College-CyFair’s Amy Denton knows having recently won the inaugural Killer Nashville Jimmy Loftin Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship covers costs for aspiring writers to attend the annual Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference, which was created to bring together forensic experts, writers and fans of crime and genre literature.
Conference founder Clay Stafford said the scholarship honoring Loftin, who was a murder victim of domestic violence, helps advance a recipient’s writing career, no matter where they are in life.
“I’m the story teller in my family,” said Denton, an adjunct history instructor at LSC-CyFair. “I enjoy writing and doing the research. I write pretty much anything - history, mystery, information pieces - I’ve been writing short stories since college.”
Her writing journey began for fun as a fan fic (fiction) writer, which is writing stories using already established characters from movies, tv or books. Denton said she has learned basics of grammar, spelling, plotting, tension; how to do research properly; and not to take comments personally.
“Through writing fan fic first, I learned the simple joy of writing and storytelling,” said Denton, whose focus on writing a book led to her goal of learning from experts at the conference.
Attending the Killer Nashville conference, funded through the memorial scholarship, was the perfect opportunity to network and learn from an international mix of publishing professionals.
“I wanted my manuscript to be seen and critiqued by agents. I wanted to learn what to do to get published. I know that won’t happen unless I get help,” said Denton.
At one of the sessions a panelist said “writing about what makes you happy, what you know, what you enjoy makes it easier to market” said Denton, who is doing just that with her book.
“It’s a mystery about an adjunct professor at a community college who winds up working in museum where real artifacts are being replaced with fakes and she has to figure out the who and why,” said Denton.
What did the conference author experts think of her first 80 pages?
“They said it’s a good beginning, but they don’t see enough emotion,” she said. “I need to be more descriptive because not everyone has a teacher perspective.”
While at the conference, Denton was asked to share with a group of authors what being a writer means to her.
“I simply said I’m never bored and that everyone is capable of writing about what they love,” said Denton, who also shares writing advice in the classroom. “I tell my students that explaining things in written word is a life skill you will use at some point in your future career.”
For information on the conference, go to Killernashville.com.