Today's most helpful speech was Joshua Mohr's Character-driven Plotting: Why Our Characters are in Charge. As a writer who considers my characters the whole point of the story - I've often said plot is just something I have to include in order to spend time with the people I make up - I was really interested in what he had to say.
Mohr explained that our main characters need to WANT something, that they should face an internal and external conflict and we need to create impediments to them achieving their goals. He suggests writers allow their protagonists to decide what's meaningful, even if that means that the writer has to "tussle" with their main character.
At the close of his speech, Mohr urged us all to have fun in our writing process and to "enjoy playing with your imaginary friends." This feels much more connected to the kind of writer I am than the tortured writers that seem to be considered the norm. The diversity of writers at the workshop was something refreshing and noticeable. More on that in my next post.