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Tuesday Tip

Writers Conferences and Workshops and What to Expect

I have attended several different writers’ conferences over the years. Everything from a Regional Conference for RWA to Love is Murder for mysteries and a National RWA conference in Anaheim. I have seen some very good conferences come and go, like Mayhem in the Midlands – a mystery conference held in Omaha, NE every year that folded last year.  There was another conference in Kansas that was strictly for the cozy mystery genre that I kept saying I wanted to attend.  It too is gone.

If you are a serious writer, there are several reasons that you should think about attending:

  • Workshops to learn craft.
  • Network – get to know others in the industry.
  • Chance to meet an agent or an editor and pitch your story.
  • Meet authors – learn the ropes from someone who knows what they are doing.
  • Get out of your little circle to see what the real world of writing is all about.
  • Support others in the industry.
  • Keep the conferences alive.

I am unable to attend a big conference this year but plan to attend a workshop in Minnesota in September. I have banned myself from anything larger until I complete my current project. Just the anticipation of attending is a motivation for me to get more words down on the paper.

I have several friends who got their break by pitching to an agent or publisher at a conference so I know how valuable they are. I met one of my critique partners, Shirley Damsgaard, at Mayhem in the Midlands several years ago. She had just sold her first book and we had lunch together. I was so impressed by her marketing plan for that first year, that I remembered her. Months later, heard her do a radio interview and discovered she was talking to a reader’s group the same night my writer’s group met at the local Borders. I dragged my group over to hear her and then she had something to eat with us afterwards. She remembered me from the conference and we have been friends since.

Conferences are fun, plan to attend one. Maybe I will see you at one some day.

Virginia

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized, Write a Novel

 

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WIP Wednesday

With this post, I will try to keep you updated on how I am doing with my project. I won’t call it a novel until I am further along and I won’t talk about the story because I don’t want jinx myself by sharing too much too soon.

What I will tell you about is the stage I am in with the project. I have written a few scenes and again felt like I was floundering. My critic came to visit and stayed. I started doubting myself again.

I want to get the first draft done before the end of September. I am going to a writer’s workshop in Minnesota and I felt it would give me a good date to aim for.

I have been working on plotting and outlining and reading everything that I could get my hands on about the subject. I found several books online that have helped.  I have been reading so much about outlining, that I volunteered to present a workshop on the subject this past Saturday at my CIFW (Central Iowa Fiction Writers – a local chapter of Romance Writers of America).

The workshop went well. I didn’t do anything embarrassing, at least; I had read so much about the subject I felt comfortable talking about it. The best compliment came from one of our published authors, the Sparkle half of Sparkle Abbey. She said I’d helped her figure out something with the current story she was writing.  The workshop was hands on and those present seemed to get absorbed in their work, so I was happy.

My goal this week is to complete my outline and actually start writing and keep writing.  When I have completed the outline, I will calculate the number of words per day I will need to do by the end of September and share the number of words written each week with this weekly post.

Your assignment is to help keep me motivated and moving forward.  As you can see, I am planning to post more often, not daily but several times a week. Writing here seems to make me want to work on my wip, so I will do what I need to do to get it finished. I enjoy blogging and it makes me feel a little more connected to the writing community.

If anyone would like to share their writing methods feel free to chime in. How much do you prepare before you actually start writing?    How do you stay motivated every day? Do you have a special time of day that you write and is it consistent? How is your writing going?

Until next time,

Virginia

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Write a Novel

 

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Lois Greiman – Guest Blog

My guest blogger this week is Lois Greiman. Lois lives a bit further north than me in Minnesota on a small farm. She sold her first book to Avon in 1992. Since then she has sold 22 romances, six mysteries, and the first in her ‘Witches of Mayfair’ series. I am a huge fan of her Chrissy McMullen mysteries and am thrilled to find out she has a new one coming out. Lois has been kind enough to blog about her writing process. Writing is an interesting creative outlet. We all end up with completed projects, eventually but when asked how they do it, they all have their own process.  Lois has been kind enough to share hers today.

Soldering on…and ummm free jewelry!

Okay, I’ll admit it. Writing is difficult. If someone ever tells you, “Hey, you should just write a book, cuz’ that’s easy money,” you pop them in the eye for me, will you? Because seriously, getting published may be the hardest thing I’ll ever do. It took me five years and a couple hundred rejections to sell my first novel. That’s right, a couple HUNDRED. And I don’t take rejection well. It’s not like I go looking for it or anything. But here’s what I’ve learned: Publishers don’t generally come knocking on your door looking for that diamond in the rough (you) who has written that potential best seller (your half written manuscript).

So what’s my secret for writing thirty plus novels? It’s pretty simple really. It’s called the Put Your Butt In The Chair Method. Okay, maybe it’s not quite as simple as it sounds, because, yes, I do realize that there are a lot of things that can be done while your butt is in the proper location. Solitaire, for instance. I know several authors who are addicted to Solitaire. Email. Email’s a bugger. In fact, the entire social network thing can be fatal to that ever-elusive muse. That’s why I don’t believe in her. That’s right. I said it, I don’t believe in the Muse. What I do believe in is butts…and chairs…and butts in chairs. So here’s what I do. Every morning after feeding the horses and going for a run, I brew myself a little tea, chant, “I don’t suck, I don’t suck, I don’t suck,” four hundred times, and settle into my work chair. That’s it. That’s the entirety of my secret. I sit down, I put my fingers on the keyboard and I write something.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t write anything good. Nothing noteworthy or hopeful or even remotely creative. But I do write. I have a goal for the day and I meet my goal. Generally, it’s 10 pages of rough draft every twenty-four hours. And when I say rough draft, don’t underestimate the roughness. That first attempt is barely legible. If someone read it, I would, in fact, have to put a gun in my ear. But day after day and week after week it gets written. I don’t edit. I don’t second guess. I don’t whine. (Okay, that last one was a total lie. I whine all the time. But nobody listens anymore so it hardly even counts.) What I do is soldier on…through the terrible dialogue that makes me want to weep for my lack of creativity, past the nonexistent scenery, over the plot holes as big as battle ships…on. And voila, after about forty days of this dogged but totally uninspired soldiering I am rewarded with 400 pages of …drivel. I mean seriously, did you expect it to be good? No. It’s awful. Worse than awful. It’s nonsensical. Because without fail on page 77 I discovered that I hated my hero’s name. Who ever thought the male lead should be called Kismet? I’m obviously deranged. But do I go back and name him something manly and dynamic like…King George? I do not. Do I add the gun on page 83 so that Kismet can shootLeonon page 122. I do not. What do I do? I soldier on. Until finally, after approximately two months of misery I have the backbone of a book. Granted, it’s a weak backbone. It has scoliosis and rickets and some osteoporosis, but it’s still a backbone and once I have that, well…I can move on. I can add flesh and muscle and pigment. I can shape and hone. I can change my poor misbegotten hero’s name for God’s sake.

So there it is. I wish I had something more hopeful for you. I wish I could tell you that if you try these three simple but magical steps the muse will appear in a puff of fairy dust, but that’s not the way it works. Not for me anyway. And if it works for someone else…well, sometimes I’m willing to pop people in the eye on my own behalf.

To celebrate the online release of Uncorked, (http://www.amazon.com/Uncorked-Chrissy-McMullen-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B006QXOAB0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326404170&sr=1-1) I’m giving away an adorable heart necklace and earrings. If you’d like to throw your name in the hat, please send an email with the word Valentine in the subject line to lgreiman@earthlink.net.

Now…what are you waiting for? Go forth and read!

http://www.loisgreiman.com

http://www.facebook.com/lois.greiman

http://www.facebook.com/ChrissyMcMullenMysteries

follow loisgreiman on twitter

Thanks Lois, look forward to reading ‘Uncorked’.

Virginia

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Guest Blogger, Writing a Novel

 

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