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Packing List

Realm Makers is this week. It starts Thursday with the Early Bird session. Traveling from a small town in the Southwest, my journey begins Tuesday morning with a shuttle ride, an all-day stay at the airport, and a red-eye flight. There are a couple of other people who are also arriving early on Wednesday. I’ve already made sightseeing plans with a fellow early arrival.

I’m packed (mostly). There are those few items that can’t go in until Monday night or Tuesday morning, mostly things like phones that have to be charged. What do you need to pack to go to a writing conference?

The official Realm Makers post on this topic is here.

The essentials for any trip: Clothing

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Photo by Gretchen E.K. Engel

What I packed for Realm Makers:

  1. Business casual – I’m pitching my manuscript
  2. Jeans, geeky t-shirts, and funky socks – The unofficial uniform of a Realmie
  3. Running clothes – Because I’m running a half-marathon the weekend after Realm Makers. I hope to get in a 3-4 mile run Thursday morning.
  4. Costume for Friday’s banquet – I’m going as… (nothing super-mysterious but it’s kind of a thing to not reveal it ahead of time)

The essentials for a writing conference

This is dependent on who your appointments are with. Editors and agents often have specific things they want to see. If a customized list isn’t available here are the essentials:

  1. A writing sample (1-3 chapters)
  2. A synopsis (1-3 pages) – One page is best because I find the person usually skims the synopsis and asks you to expand on plot points. Time is very limited, so you don’t want an overwhelming amount of information.
  3. A one-sheet – This is a splashy way to make your pitch memorable and to help the person you’ve met with connect a story with a person
  4.  Business cards – often the editor or agent won’t keep your materials because you’re one of 20-50 people they’re seeing. That’s a lot of paper. A card is a small item they will very likely keep. Also, you’ll want cards to exchange with all attendees not just editors and agents. I’m a big fan of business cards. They help cement people in my head after the conference. There are 180+ attendees at Realm Makers this year. That’s a lot of people.
  5. Extension cord, power strip, and charging cords. Technology.

Items unique to Realm Makers

  1. Nerf gun – last year I raided my son’s arsenal and brought a machine gun and clips. It jammed, so this year I’m going with my daughter’s Rebelle but still packing my son’s ammo vest.

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    Photo by Gretchen E.K. Engel

  2. A bar of hand soap. We stay in dormitories so they don’t have any toiletries. If you use bath gel, you might not think about soap for the sink.
  3. Fun and quirky costume accessories – hints about mine below (and random necessities like tissues and a flashlight)
  4. A stuffed mascot. Zippy Longtail the alien turtle and his wife Rosie aren’t the most colorful of pets attending Realm Makers. There’s a well-known wombat and Avily’s Yridessa the Dragon for them to mingle with. Zippy is the official attendee. Rosie is his plus one.
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    Photo by Gretchen E.K. Engel

    What are your must-haves for travel whether it’s for business or pleasure?

     

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About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

4 comments on “Packing List

  1. Great list, Gretchen! I would add a sweater. Conference center meeting rooms are notorious for inconsistent air conditioning. You’re going to swelter or freeze. Layering is the best way to cope.

  2. I am still packing. There is so much stuff that I am bringing, but unfortunately business cards are not one of them. By the time I remembered that I would need those (because I’ve never gotten them before) it was too late to have them shipped.

    My travel will start at about 8a Thursday morning where I will drive from TN to the conference. Luckily I’ve been to this location before so I shouldn’t arrive late like I did last time.

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