Monday, April 16, 2007

Conference Anyone?

There are often times in a busy life that we desire nothing more that to escape, to do something totally for ourselves. This weekend, I did just as I desired - I escaped to a sort of writer’s utopia. Where authors get to chat about writing, scene difficulties, book promotion, and favorite publishing markets.

Amidst the Terrebonne Parish Library rooms, I found a day of inspiration. There were many break out sessions on different aspects. I chose to attend one on strong dialogue. While the session was geared to screenplay or theater, the subject of improvisation proved to be invigorating. The presenter gave a few tips on how to do improvisation. I offer these for you to use in your fiction writing.

Do: take cues from your partner; play your scene from moment to moment; allow your intuition to be your guide; and be spontaneous in your actions. Don’t: deny anything your scene partner says about you or the situation; ask questions; or explain situations and feelings.

While these may not seem to fit to writing, think of it as guidelines for creating believable dialogue. Play out the conversations in your mind. I think the last Don’t is a major clue. When we are explaining situations and feelings in dialogue, we can most likely show it with actions or expressions.

Also at the conference, an editor from Harcourt really made an impression on me. Jenna Johnson presented some ideas on how to become a publisher’s dream so to speak. She shared tips on steps you can be taking now to make yourself more publishable. Several items caught my attention. Here’s a short list of those:

1. Be a member of associations (i.e., if your book is concerning psychology, what groups are you a member of? Show why you should be an expert in that field).
2. Create a readership platform and keep a list of potential readers (In other words, any place you have published, keep a record).
3. Be reading in the genre you write. You should know your genre extremely well and be versed in it.
4. You should be writing nonfiction articles on the research material that you have been using for your fiction.
5. Have a webpage, blog, myspace or any other means to market yourself and begin BEFORE are you are published.

These were just a few things that stuck out to me. I had to leave for my critique session before her workshop was finished. However, I still hear her words. READ in the genre you write. If you are writing a story that is set on a steamboat, then you should be a steamboat expert. It made me realize how little of an expert I am concerning my research and how much more I needed to perform. Also, it helped me to see that my association with StoryCrafters and its blog, plus any other writer’s associations or sites may not be wasted time.

Now, I have to add a few tasks to my platter to build my marketability.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Wonderful words of wisdom from our Sassy. I would love to attend a conference one day. It is a future goal--after the girls get a little older.

From Johnson's tips I can see that numbers 3 and 4 are where I need to concentrate some effort. I rarely read beyond nonfiction, but I am writing fiction. Hmmm...not good.

Thanks for sharing some of your experiences with us. I guess I have no excuse not to be inspired to write now.