RSS

Category Archives: Conferences and workshops

Writing, Reading, and Work

writer writing

Post Killer Nashville Conference: I left the conference bursting with writing motivation. Couldn’t wait to get started with my new project and then life slams a pie in my face. We had 5 hours of overtime last week. We have 10 hours of overtime this week. I work four ten hour days to have a three day weekend every week. I do this to allow me time to write. Today it didn’t happen.

Since I can work from home sometimes, I decided it was bad enough I had to work on my day off and there was no way I was going into the office to do it, so I got up at 5:30 and was sitting in front of the computer at 6:15 in my pajamas. I thought I would work until 12:15 and then only have to work one extra hour a day to finish my overtime before the weekend. Then I got to thinking that next weekend is a holiday weekend and I really didn’t want to work late on Friday, so I decided to work an extra hour. Well per company guidelines, if you work longer than 6 hours, you have to take a lunch. I ran down to the kitchen to see what I could fix fast. Looked like I was down to peanut butter and jelly but the bread was a little iffy, even if I toasted it. So I ran back upstairs, pulled off my pajama bottoms, put on the shorts I’d worn the day before, a bra, and my pajama top – no need to put on clean clothes to run to the fast food drive through and besides I couldn’t fit in a shower and lunch too. Ran a brush through my hair and took off for the drive thru. Hurried home, ate my lunch at my desk while I continued working.

But then, I got stuck on a piece of work that took me 15 minutes into the next hour. I figured I might as well work another hour and then only have 2 hours left to finish before Friday. So my plan to be done by 12:15 PM stretched out to 2:45 PM. When I was done working for the day I hurried up and showered and dressed. This is why I could not work from home every day. I felt like a sloth.

I really wanted to start either working on my new project or edit a little of my manuscript I finished before my trip to Nashville but I couldn’t with a good conscience sit down to write until I made a trip to the grocery store. I then remembered that I would be working late a couple nights this week and for my husband’s sake decided to make him a nice dinner tonight because who knew what the rest of the week would hold. 11 hour days do sometimes wear me out.  I hurried to the store, came home, stuck a ham in the oven, and then turned on Netflix. I know, I could have sat down and started working on my book but I really needed a little break.

By the time I finished watching my show, it was time to finish fixing dinner. We ate and then I did the dishes and then I remembered I wanted to get my weekly blog post out so here I am. It is now going on 9:00 PM and I have no energy left to write. But I will. Since I only have two eleven hour days and two ten hour days this week, I am sure I will get something done. If not, I have saved my weekend. Since it is a holiday weekend, I am fairly sure I will have all three days free, rarely does the company allow us to work overtime on a holiday because it is time and a half. My only fear is that we will have ten hours of overtime again next week and I will then lose one of the following weekend days to overtime but I won’t know until Thursday. I will think positive thoughts that somehow the overtime will vanish and I can reclaim my days off.

In the meantime, I have been developing my new project a little. Writing notes down about the characters and plot ideas. Here are the things I know. I want to develop a mystery series. I want my protagonist to be a female private eye. I haven’t decided on her name yet but here is the background so far. Her mother died when she was a child. Her father raised her alone. He was a cop, so she followed in his footsteps. He died while on duty and she questions his death. She questioned the wrong person and lost her job so now she is a private investigator. This idea didn’t come from a headline in the paper or a television story, it was just an idea that I’ve been mulling around for a while.

My first story will be about a missing teenage girl. There will be a continuing thread about her investigating her father’s death. I plan to use the title – Finding Faith. The missing teen is named Faith and I hope to use it for both her name and my protagonist finding faith in herself, somehow. It is a working title. Publishers don’t often use the working title but for now, I like it.

Here is one of my research books I will be using, one of many. Robert Randisi edited this book and I think he also founded The Private Eye Writers of America. I sat with him and his wife at the Saturday night awards dinner at Killer Nashville. He is a very prolific writer. He has written a book a month since the 1980’s. To be honest, he looked really tired that night. Even if I could, I don’t think I would want to push myself that hard but if it’s working for him, I can’t knock it.

Private eye3

And here is what I am currently reading. Some how I do find time to read. I think it’s essential to any writer to read. While work and everyday life seem to suck the energy from me, reading helps motivate me and Julia Keller is one of my favorites. I think this is her fourth. It is set in West Virginia, her protagonist is a prosecutor who isn’t trying to convict someone, she’s trying to convict the right someone so she conducts her own investigations while going to trial. I don’t know that much about the law and whether every thing is correct but I do know her books are a pleasure to read.

Last RAgged Breath

If you write, how do you begin a project? Do you start with the plot or the characters? Feel free to share your methods. I am truly interested in the craft of writing. I think it is amazing that someone can come up with a story out of no where and everyone seems to have their own system.  I think it can take a writer a long time to find what works. I also think it changes. Each project is a little different and what worked for one book may not work for the next.

Well it’s bedtime and tomorrow I have to do it all over again.

Until next time, keep writing and reading.

 

How To Get the Most Out of a Writers Conference III

Hopefully you’ve had a wonderful time at the conference and you’re pumped to start writing. That is usually how I feel after several days in that environment. This year, I have scheduled an extra day off work to catch up at home and devote a day to writing before I have to go back to the day job.  It is my treat to me.

Now take a breath, unpack, and do those things you have to do after a few days away from home. Before you settle into writing, take a few minutes to evaluate your experience.

Pull out your goal sheet you prepared before the conference.

  • Did you meet your goals?
  • Were there some that you did not meet?
  • What was the best memory?
  • What did you learn?
  • Do you need to follow up with a pitch session?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • Would you want to attend this conference again?

 

Hopefully you had a wonderful experience networking and plan to keep in touch with some people you met. Might friend them on Facebook. And did you share your blog site so they can start following you there too?

Well this is the last post about conferences. I hope it helped with even one new idea.

I will be attending the Spring Fling in Chicago in April. Hopefully I will see some of you there.

Next week I will list more conferences happening in June to allow you time to sign up.

April will be all about plotting. My local chapter of RWA, Iowa Romance Novelists,  will have a program “Plotting without a Net” with Leigh Michaels speaking. Leigh is a multi-published romance author who has also taught classes at the community college in Ottumwa as well as the Writer’s Workshop in Iowa City. If you live in the Des Moines area and would be interested in checking us out, we meet the third Saturday of every month at the West Des Moines Community Center on the second floor from 10:00 to 1:00. Hope to see you there.

Keep writing forward,

Virginia

 

Tags: , , , ,

How To Get the Most Out of a Writer’s Conference II

Now that you have set your goals and decided on which conference to attend, You need to get your hands on a brochure. Most conferences will have this information on their website. It will list all of the workshops and programs.

  • Keep your goals in mind and choose workshops that are relevant.
  • Most are Q&A sessions or panels but some conferences will have hourly workshops to help with craft or the business of writing. Should be able to find something for whatever level you are with your work.
  • If you plan to pitch to an agent or editor, try to attend their panels to get to know them better before you meet.
  • At night they sometimes have sessions that are a little more laid back. I attended ‘Love is Murder’ one year and got to listen to true ghost stories from the authors. One of them was Charlaine Harris. Now how awesome is that?
  • If you catch yourself wanting to attend sessions that are scheduled at the same time – pick the one you want to see the most and purchase the recorded sessions, if they are available. Most conferences have started doing this.

Next post we’ll get into what to do before your one-on-one session with an editor or agent.

Hope you are working on something – happy writing.

Virginia

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

How to Get the Most Out of Attending a Writers Conference

Before you do anything, take a few minutes to think about what you want to accomplish by attending a writers conference.

  • Do you want to learn more about the business of writing?
  • Are you wanting to become a better writer?
  • Is networking of interest?
  • Are you published and want to promote your work?
  • Do you just want to have some fun?

Any of these are legitimate reasons to think about attending a conference. But as you know if you have done any research, conferences are not cheap. You have your registration fees, travel and hotel expenses, meals, and who can go to a conference without buying some books? So to save yourself from signing up for the wrong conference, you will need to do some research.

Before you do that though, sit down and make some goals for what you want to get out of a conference. What are you looking for? Put it down on paper and be specific. When you get home afterwards what do you want to have achieved?

And then look for a conference that fits your needs. You might start your search online, get recommendations from friends, and if you belong to any national writer’s organizations – check those resources, also magazines like ‘Writer’s Digest’ or ‘Writer’ list information about upcoming workshops and conferences.

If this is your first conference would you feel more comfortable in a smaller more intimate setting or are you ready to jump into one of the mega conferences like RWA’s National or the mystery writer’s Bouchercon.

Just wanted to give you something to think about. I will post later this week about the next step in preparing for a writers conference.

Until then, what do you do specifically to prepare or do you just pack a bag and go? Hopefully I can give you some suggestions that will help make your next conference experience more memorable.

Happy writing,

Virginia

 

Tags: , , ,

Writers Conferences

I will be presenting a program for my local RWA chapter this month about ‘How to Prepare for a Writers Conference’. So I thought I would post about that this month.

To start off this week, I will give you a list of conferences to think about attending. Next week I will get more involved with suggestions to make your experience better.

For now here are some conferences to check out:

March

March 15-16 – The Tucson Festival of Books, University of Arizona campus, Tucson AZ. Free http:/tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/

March 19-23 – Virginia FEstival of the Book, Carlottesville, VA http://www.vabook.org/index.html/

March 20-22 -The Write Stuff, Allentown, PA – Keynote Speaker Hank Phillipi Ryan http://www.glvwg.org/conference/index.html

March 20-23 – Left Coast Crime Annual Mystery Convention, Monterey, CA http://www.leftcoastcrime.org

March 20-23 – Romfest, Knoxville Airport Hilton, Alcoa, TN – Keynote Speaker Brenda Novak. http://www.romfest.com

April

April 4-6 – Mad Anthony Writers Conference, Hamilton, OH http://writelikemad.com/

April 10-15 – The Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference http:/www.mounthermon.org/event/212

April 11-13 Missouri Writers Guild Conference, Ramada, downtown St. Louis. http://www.missouriwritersguild org

April 24-26 – Las Vegas Writers Conference, Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada. http://lasvegaswritersconference.com/

April 25-26 Chicago Spring Fling Writers Conference. http:/chicagospringfling.com/

April 25-26 – North East Texas Writers 28th Annual Writer’s Round-Up in Mot Pleasant, TX http://www.netwo.org

April 25-27 – Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Colorado Springs, CO http://www.pikespeakwriters.com/ppwc/

May

May 1-3 The Oklahoma Writers Federation Story Weavers Conference, Oklahoma City, OK. http://www.owfi.org/conference.php

May 2-4  Malice Domestic, Mystery fan convention, Bethesda MD http://www.malicedomestic.org

May 3-4 DAllas-Fort Worth WRiters Conference, Hurst Conference Center DFW Metroplex, TX http://www.dfwcon.org.

May 14-18 Tomantic Times BOok Lovers Convention, New Orleans, LA http:/www.rtconvention.com

May 15-18 – Pennwriters, Lancaster, PA Keynote Speaker: Kami GArcia. http://www.pennwriters.org

May 16-17 Tallahassee Book FEstival and Writers Conference, TAllahassee, FL http://www.twaonline.or

June

June 6-8, Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, Holiday Inn Historic District, Philadelphia, PA. www.pwcwriters.org

June 7-14, – Santa Barbara Writers Conference, Santa Barbara, CA.http://www.sbwriters.com/

June 13-14, – Mystery Writers Key West Fest, Key West, Florida.www.mysterywriterskeywestfest.com.

June 13-17,– Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, Lands End Resort, Homer, Alaska. http://writersconference.homer.alaska.edu/

June 13-17, – Southeastern Writers Workshop, St. Simons Island, Georgia.
http://southeasternwriters.org/Writers_Workshop.html

June 14-16, – Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference, Los Angeles Valley College, L.A., CA. http://www.wcwriters.com/glawc/

June 20-22, –  RomCon Romance Convention, Denver, Coloradohttp://www.romcon.com (Jodie is presenting 2 workshops at this one.)

June 24-28, – Western Writers of America convention, Sacramento, Calif.http://www.westernwriters.org/

June 26-28, 2014 – Jackson Hole Writers Conference, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.http://www.jacksonholewritersconference.com/

These are just the ones that sparked my interest. You can google to find many more. I will update this list each month so you can plan what you want to attend. I am planning to go to Chicago’s Spring Fling – hope to see some of you there.

Virginia

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Conferences and workshops

 

Tags: ,

David Corbett Workshop

 

My local chapter of RWA and Sisters in Crime are presenting one day workshop next Saturday in the Des Moines area. If you are close, you don’t want to miss this one.

Join Iowa Romance Novelists for a one day workshop with Edgar-nominated author, David Corbett as he presents: The Art Of Character.

Date: Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 10am – 4pm

Place: Des Moines Area Community College, Building 7, Ankeny, Iowa.

Cost: $40 – College Students, IRN members, SINC-Iowa members

$60 – groups of 10+

$75 – All Others

         (LUNCH IS INCLUDED!!)

Description:  In this workshop, David Corbett will guide students through the five stages of characterization he details in his critically acclaimed new book,The Art of Character. With the goal of helping students apply these techniques specifically to their own works in progress, he will lead the class through exercises that:

* Explore unique and compelling ways to conceive the character from the outset.

* Enrich the character through examination of one’s own personal experience.

* Deepen the portrayal by exploring the five essential qualities of compelling
characterization.

* Create character biographies that rely on dramatic scenes, not descriptive
information.

* Explore the interaction of the character and her role in the story, especially the

protagonist.

* Develop techniques for rendering the character on the page: point of view, voice,

dialog.

Register http://iowaromancenovelists.org/workshops or, for more information, email: iowaromnovel@yahoo.com

“Corbett has been quietly crafting some of the best novels of the new millennium. Human characters and tragic consequences. Corbett is one of the giants of tomorrow.”

   —Bookspot Central

For more information about David Corbett, check out his website at:
http://www.davidcorbett.com/

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Alaska

 

Arizona

Wrangling with Writing – Sept 26 – 27

Casa Libre en la Solana – Year Round

 

California

Fisherman’s Wharf Writers Conference – Oct 21 -25

The Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop – Aug 21 -23

Women Writing the West Annual Conference – Sept 11-13

Southern California Writers Conference – L.A. – Sept 25 -27

Central Coast Writers’ Conference – Oct 2,3

Central Coast Book & Author Festival – Oct 4

Litquake – Oct 9-17

Jack London Writers Conference – Oct 10,11

Tomales Bay Writers’ Workshop – Oct 21 – 25

The Creativity Workshop – Carmel – Nov 6-9

 

Connecticut

 

Washington D.C.

The Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival – Oct 18-28

 

Florida

Atlantic Center for the Arts – Year Round

The Studios of Key West – Year Round

Sanabel Island Writers Conference – Nov 5-8

Other Words – Nov 6-8

Miami Book Fail International – Nov 8-15

 

 

Georgia

Southern Women Writers Conference – Sept 24-26

Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference – Sept 25, 26

Georgia Literary Festival – Oct 16 -18

Dahlonega Literary Festival & Writer’s Conference – Nov 7-8

 

Hawaii

Hawaii Writers Conference & Retreat – Aug 28 – Sept 3, Sept 4 -7

 

Idaho

Sun Valley Writers Conference – Aug 21 -24

 

Illinois

Writers in the Heartland – Sept – Oct

The Ragdale Foundation – Year Round

Writer’s Studio – Year Round

 

Kansas

The Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave – Oct 30 – Nov 1

 

Kentucky

Writers Retreat Workshop – Aug 21 -30

Kentucky Women Writers Conference – Sept 10 -12

Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning – Year Round

 Louisiana

Fall in Love with Romance Readers Luncheon 2009 – www.heartla.com – Oct 3

Maine

The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies – Sept – Dec

MWPA Fall Writing Retreat – Sept 11 -13

Main Literary Festival – Nov 6-8

 

Maryland

Baltimore Book Festival – Sept 25 -27

F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference – Oct 17

The Writer’s Center – Year Round

 

Massachusetts

Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference – Aug 14 -17, Sept 18-21, Oct 23-26

Cape Cod Writers’ Center- Annual Summer Writers’ Conference & Young Writers Workshop – Aug 15-22

Patchwork Farm Retreat – Stump Sprouts – Oct 1-4

Massachusetts Poetry Festival – Oct 15-18

Amherst Writers & Artists – Year Round

New England Crime Bake – Nov 13-15

Somerville News Writers Festival – Nov 14

 Michigan

Ludington Writers Conference – Sept 17-19

Springfed Arts – Writers’ Retreat – Oct 8-11

The Box Factory for the Arts – Year Round

Springfed Arts – Lamb’s Retreat for Songwriters – Nov 5-8, 12-15

 

Minnesota

The Loft Literary Center – Year Round

Fall Harves Workshop – Midwest Fiction Writers – Crowne Plaza Hotel, Bloomington – www.midwestfiction.com – Sept 26

Mississippi

 Missouri

Flathead River Writers Conference – Oct 1-5

 Montana
Montana Festival of the Book – Oct 22-24

 

Nebraska

Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts Residencies – Year Round

 

New Hampshire

Star Island Retreat – Aug 31 – Sept 4

 

New Jersey

The Poetry Center – Year Round

NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference – www.NJRomanceWriters.org – Oct 23-24

 

New Mexico

 

New York

Millay colony for the Arts – Apr – Dec

The Edward F. Albee Foundation – May – Oct

Fort Green Park Summer Literary Festival – Jul 11- Aug 15 (workshops) Aug 22 (festival)

STARt Your Engines: Rev Up Your Writing Career – Owego Treadway Inn – www.starrwa.org – Sept 12

Brooklyn Book Festival – Sept 13

Writing By Degrees – Sept 24-26

&Now Festival of Innovative Writing & the Literary Arts – Oct 14-17

The Downtown Writer’s Center – Year Round

Gotham Writers’ Workshop – Year Round

Writer’s Seminar in New York – Nov 18-21

 

 

North Carolina

Carolina Mountains Literary Festival – Sept 11,12

The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville – Year Round

Fearless Writing Retreat – Lake Logan – Nov 9-15

 Ohio

Readers and Writers Holiday – Columbus – www.cofw.org– Sept 18-19

Novelist’s Boot Camp – www.ovrwa.com – Nov 14

Oregon

The Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency – Apr – Oct

Wordstock – Oct 8-11

Fishtrap, Inc. – Year Round

The Nature of Words – Nov 4-8

 

Pennsylvania

Stillwater Poetry and Music Festival – Sept 12

Founders Workshops – Year Round

 

 

Rhode Island

Star Island Writing Retreat – Aug 31 – Sept 4

 

South Dakota

John R. Milton Writers’ Conference – Oct 29-31

 

Tennessee

Writing the Breakout Novel with Donald Maass – Sept 21 -27

Gemini Ink – Year Round

SMU Continuing Studies Creative Writing Program – Year Round

Texas

NTRWA Writers Roundup – www.ntrwa.org – Nov 6-7

 Utah

Heart of the West – Romance in the Mountains – www.utahrwa.com/HOWConference – Oct 9-10

Vermont

Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference – Aug 12 -23

Burlington Book Festival – Sept 24-27

Brattleboro Literary Festival – Oct 2 -4

Great Rivers Arts Institute – Literary Arts Programs – Year Round

 

Virginia

Fall for the Book – Sept 21-26

James River Writers – Oct 9-10

Emory & Henry College Literary Festival – Oct 29,30

The Porches Writing Retreat – Year Round

 

Washington

Orca Island Writers Festival – Sept 17-20

Write on the Sound – Oct 2 -4

 20th Anniversary Emerald city Writers Conference – www.gsrwa.org – Oct 9-11

West Virginia

West Virginia Book Festival – Oct 10,11

 

Wisconsin

Spring Green Literary Festival – Sept 11,12

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 20, 2009 in Conferences and workshops

 

Tags:

 
%d bloggers like this: