Once you've gotten in, then you can start doing the more focused research that will tie your ideas together for the specific argument you're making.

When you write the paper remember it s 8 or 9 pages double spaced MAX, no exceptions. No you CAN NOT have more pages if you talk faster. Ask people who have attended the conference in the past about the level of familiarity you can assume among the listeners. With some conferences you should give background to your project but with those where a high level of familiarity can be assumed, it is possible to launch into the specifics much quicker. You do NOT want to spend 1/3 of your paper explaining who Big Mama Thornton is at a blues conference, for instance. Give maybe one or two sentences that tie the preexisting knowledge to what you're setting up and just go to it. When writing remember that you're speaking, not just reading a scholarly paper aloud, and write with an oral performance in mind. Practically speaking, this means avoid long sentences, don't use tons of jargon, and paraphrase secondary sources to get just what you need. Once you have a draft you can share it with folks to get feedback.

Use anecdotes and quotes from the main characters

Spend the whole paper quoting obtuse critical theory unless it is absolutely necessary. We've all read Foucault and Judith Butler - just paraphrase to bring us in to where you are going with your argument unless your argument is directly challenging specific critical theory