September 12th, 2008

single deer

Friday Five, Conference Post...

1. My first workshop was on plotting. It was really good. The presenter (who's name I've forgotten -- but I have it written down, of course) went over a number of bestsellers, discussing how they all fit the basic plot skeleton. I can already tell I need to work on that aspect of my writing -- because Lindy wouldn't exactly fit...it does to a point, but then it kind of falters. How nice to have the tools for this!

2. My second workshop was on using your characters to drive the plot. This one wasn't as in-depth, but I think I still learned from it. The funny thing is, my books do fit in this presenter's mold...but I'm not convinced they don't need more work ala #1. Also during this workshop, a guy stared at me through the entire thing! It was a little creepy...in the end, he jumped in and started talking to me about my name and how he knew someone named Prehn in Iowa. Still, a little creepy. I was relieved when he said, "Have a great conference," and finally turned away. Yikes!

3. My third workshop was on writing with your strengths. WE did a couple of personality tests to discover those strengths. Did you know that the majority of writers are whole-brained? I am (there was a little test for this), though I'm right on the edge of being right-brained. It was fascinating, but the best part was this quote: If you continue to do what you've always been doing, you'll continue to get the same results.

4. (more on #3) When she first read that, I thought, "What else can I do? I complete novels, I revise them, I'm in critique groups, I have exchange partners, I submit, I have a couple novels with editors, etc. What can I change?" And then I realized that, for me, the changes need to be more in the process of writing itself.

5. (adding to that) When I go to conferences, I always assume that everyone I meet, everyone I hear, every workshop I attend will somehow better my writing. Today certainly proved that -- I'm right at the wall, right at the edge of the next step (getting an agent, selling a book) -- to get over that wall, to climb the ladder, I need to change something. And those workshops on plotting and characters are tools I can use to make those changes -- plus, I will have the chance for a couple tomorrow on emotional depth (yay) and layering (woo-hoo).

Yeah, it's been a great Friday. I hope each of you has times like these! Thanks for all the good wishes, btw :) And if anyone would like my notes, I took tons! Just PM or e-mail me, and when they're all typed up, I'll send them your way :) ETA: The first 2 presenters mentioned in their talks that they'd gotten some of their ideas from others. I believe it's okay for me to share my thoughts on their presentations without 'stealing' their lecture packets -- if anyone knows differently, do let me know!