I’ve discovered that a writers’ conference is very good for motivation. I feel energized and ready to write, a feeling I’ve been missing. I learned some really helpful things and heard some great ideas for improving my writing. The sessions and panels made me realize two things: 1) I’m not the only one who loves to write but sometimes hates it, and 2) writing isn’t just about writing anymore … it’s about marketing as well. *sigh*
Plus, I met some outstanding people … people whom I hope will be reading this blog someday. People like some really lovely ladies in the Tulsa Night Writers. I loved their writers’ group name, especially since I write at night as well. A more welcoming group you couldn’t find, and they have some fine writers in their midst if their conference awards are any indication. One of my dinner companions on Saturday, Linda, won an award for her romance story. Congrats, Linda! And Eileen took home FIVE awards for her fiction and poetry. Go Eileen! More awards were given out, of course, but I think the Night Riders cleaned up!
I also have to thank Eileen, who graciously agreed to look over my query letter and make it better! Someday I hope to return the favor. Another woman I met, Lucie, was asked to submit a partial to an agent for her very first mystery. Way to go, Lucie! I look forward to corresponding with many of these writers in the future.
A few nuggets of information I thought I’d pass on:
1) Writer/agent Terry Brooks said the following: In today’s market, it’s not enough to write a good book. You must write an exceptional book. His definition of an exceptional book is: 1) Write a good book. 2) Edit it well to make it better. 3) DIRECT your book much like a film is directed and edited by leaving unnecessary scenes on the cutting room floor (i.e., make sure the reader can’t find a good place to put down the book without being eager to pick it back up again).
2) Jane Friedman, Writer’s Digest editor (both book and magazine), is fully on board with the digital publishing revolution. She eschews printed books and buys them online to read on her Kindle or new iPad. She thinks she’s bought more books in the last year since she’s been buying e-books.
3) I could probably quote author K.D. Wentworth’s entire session, but one helpful reminder was that “evil” characters must be as multi-faceted as protagonists. No one is evil for the sake of being evil, even though he or she has an agenda that produces evil consequences. She also said to avoid the “idiot plot” (this makes me laugh every time) … that’s when a character acts like an idiot or there is no plot.
I’m going to try to write a bit more about my personal experience at the conference, but it will have to be another time since I’m hungry and it’s time for dinner. Cheers!