Session and Speaker Preview: Lisa Romeo, Multiplication and Division: Writing About One Experience Across Multiple Pieces

Lisa RomeoNonfiction writer, teacher, editor, and consultant Lisa Romeo returns to HippoCamp to present Multiplication and Division: Writing About One Experience Across Multiple Pieces. Lisa talked to us about her expectations for her return to HippoCamp this summer.

Hippocampus: We don’t want to give too much away about your session, but please share something with us that you hope attendees will take away from your talk that isn’t found on the program description.

Lisa: Sometimes the best thing that can happen is for an early reader, editor, or workshop peer to say something like: “This (paragraph / idea / character) doesn’t belong in this piece.” Or “This is really interesting, but it’s distracting to this story.” Or “This (minor theme / tangent) keeps cropping up, but it competes with the main idea.” That type of feedback is golden; it means you have more than one story to tell, maybe several more. Finding your next piece inside your current piece can be a gift.

Tell us who would benefit most from your session and why.  

It’s ideal for those who write essays and stand-alone pieces of memoir and narrative nonfiction, as well as those just beginning to develop a book-length manuscript who are worried they’ll have enough to say over 250 pages. Writers who are trying to figure out what to write next. Writers who suspect they’re not done writing about a particular topic but worry about repeating themselves. Writers who are interested in breaking big subjects down into shorter pieces. Also, bloggers or columnists who need to write about the same general topic, but always with a fresh approach.

What is your best advice for those attending a writing conference?

Make a plan from the program in advance, but be flexible. Some of the best sessions I’ve attended are those I’ve wandered into, unplanned. Try to see the presenters you won’t get a chance to hear otherwise, but don’t base your entire weekend on only seeing the stars on the agenda. I’ve learned a lot over the years from many wonderful presenters whose name and/or works I wasn’t familiar with before.

Aside from speaking, what you are most looking forward to about being part of the HippoCamp?

Meeting a few new writers one-on-one, and having meaningful conversations in small groups over a meal or during a break. That’s exactly what happened last year, and I’m hopeful lightning will strike twice. The small size of the conference, and the pace, allows for that to happen.

Please share some thoughts on why you’re excited to return for another year. 

The atmosphere last year was wonderful; I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a welcoming attitude from organizers, other presenters, and attendees alike. I always had the feeling that every writer in the room mattered, no matter how many books they’d published—or if they’d even published a book at all. There was no sense that you’re either in club or you’re not. The club was everyone.

What’s on your personal conference agenda?

Last year, I couldn’t get there until Friday night, but this year, I’ve arranged to be there from Thursday morning, so I’ll be able to do more. I’m going to attend the pre-conference Collage Essay workshop with Sarah Einstein, and I’m looking forward to that.

What are you most looking forward to about visiting Lancaster?

This year, I want to try to find an hour to walk around downtown Lancaster and explore some of the shops near the hotel, which seemed so interesting.


Explore Lancaster and a range of interesting writerly topics with Lisa Romeo and all our speakers and panelists at HippoCamp 2016. No need to wait until the last minute—register today!