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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

 

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Write a Novel with Me – Characters and Plot

I hope you haven’t given up on me.  I know this step took longer than I had planned. I spent most of this weekend trying to finish up enough of my character and story development to be able to start writing this week.  My protagonist is the most fully developed character so far.  I was struggling with trying to create the rest of the characters but at this point, they are just names with  enough background information for me to start writing.  I think I need to write about them a little before I can actually create them more fully.  I plan to create a more detailed character sketch for each character as they are introduced in the story.   If you are anything like me, I find that  if I don’t write for a while something nags at me until I do.  I couldn’t take the nagging any longer. 

My villain and my innocent suspects are all writers who are attending a writer’s retreat with my protagonist.  Something happened in the past that has caused one of them to seek revenge. I still have Ben, who I have decided was a college professor who taught a writing class that Rachel attended.  He may still be a cross dresser but I’m having second thoughts about that. I think I will let that go until I actually get further into my story and see if it needs to be included.  If not, he may just be a stereotypical college professor who likes to flirt with the coeds.  He may have been involved with Rachel and one or several of the other students in her class when she was in college.  He will end up being my second victim. 

As I said, I have decided that the villain is out for revenge.  Haven’t totally decided why yet but I will keep developing that part of the story as I go. 

I have figured out what the ten most important scenes are and they include the opening, the three plot points, the climax, and the resolution.  They are just skeletal ideas at this point that I will build onto as I write.  I am developing the plot points by causing something to reverse the direction of the story at that point.  They will be my guideposts leading me to the end.  I will have subplots but I’m not sure what they are at this point.  I will have a romantic sub plot and I do know who Rachel’s romantic interest is. My plan is to work on the outline each day as well as write so that I am always a little ahead of my writing.  I am using a three act structure.

Over the next 30 days, my goal is to write 100 pages, 25 pages a week, 4 pages a day.  At the end of the 30 days, I will set my goal for the next 30 days.  I will tweak next month’s goal after I see how well I do with this one.

I will share as much of my development of the story as I can without actually telling you details that will give the story away.  I do want you to want to buy the book, once it’s published.

In the meantime, let me know what you are doing and if you’ve set any goals. I do believe in the philosophy of write it down, make it happen. So now I’ve written it down and shared it with you.  I will post weekly so you know if I met my goal or if I am struggling with any part of the process. 

In the meantime, keep writing.

Virginia

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2009 in Write a Novel

 

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