Tag Archives: Novel Writing

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

March 19-23 – Virginia FEstival of the Book, Carlottesville, VA

March 20-22 -The Write Stuff, Allentown, PA – Keynote Speaker Hank Phillipi Ryan

March 20-23 – Left Coast Crime Annual Mystery Convention, Monterey, CA

March 20-23 – Romfest, Knoxville Airport Hilton, Alcoa, TN – Keynote Speaker Brenda Novak.


April 4-6 – Mad Anthony Writers Conference, Hamilton, OH

April 10-15 – The Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference http:/

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.

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

April 25-26 – North East Texas Writers 28th Annual Writer’s Round-Up in Mot Pleasant, TX

April 25-27 – Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Colorado Springs, CO


May 1-3 The Oklahoma Writers Federation Story Weavers Conference, Oklahoma City, OK.

May 2-4  Malice Domestic, Mystery fan convention, Bethesda MD

May 3-4 DAllas-Fort Worth WRiters Conference, Hurst Conference Center DFW Metroplex, TX

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

May 15-18 – Pennwriters, Lancaster, PA Keynote Speaker: Kami GArcia.

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


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

June 7-14, – Santa Barbara Writers Conference, Santa Barbara, CA.

June 13-14, – Mystery Writers Key West Fest, Key West,

June 13-17,– Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, Lands End Resort, Homer, Alaska.

June 13-17, – Southeastern Writers Workshop, St. Simons Island, Georgia.

June 14-16, – Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference, Los Angeles Valley College, L.A., CA.

June 20-22, –  RomCon Romance Convention, Denver, Colorado (Jodie is presenting 2 workshops at this one.)

June 24-28, – Western Writers of America convention, Sacramento, Calif.

June 26-28, 2014 – Jackson Hole Writers Conference, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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.


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Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Conferences and workshops


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Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Sometimes thinking up new ideas is like pulling teeth, very painful.

When that happens, I go back to the basics and start brainstorming.

I used to think that brainstorming was something you did before you started writing but the more I write, the more I understand that it is all brainstorming. The story doesn’t come to me full blown. I get a scene in my head and then I think about who might be the person in that scene. I then start developing that character and start making decisions on character goals. What does that character want? What would make that person want that goal and what is keeping that person from achieving it?

After I get a good feel for the character, I start looking at my plot points.

To put all the pieces together, I have to continue brainstorming. I brainstorm scenes to connect the plot points until I have enough for a story. Sometimes I brainstorm with friends but most of the time it is by myself.

Here are some ways to gather ideas:

1. Actual brainstorming: This is where you take a large piece of paper and interconnect circles on paper – start out with the character’s name in the center of the paper. Make other circles around with whatever subject you want to connect to the character like, family, love interest, career, fears. There are no real rules. Do what works for you. Use colored pencils or pens, draw pictures, have fun.

2. Write from prompts. I sometimes do this once I am already writing. I take a prompt and see how I could use it for my story. Again, ‘A Writer’s Book of Days’ is a great resource.

3. Use a book journal. Write down all of your thoughts about your novel. What do you want to have happen? What could happen next. Write down as many ideas as you can and choose the one that might surprise the reader most. Play the what if game.

4. Watch a movie or read a book. Maybe a character will trigger an idea you can use. As an example: Remember that movie -‘The Man Without a Face’ with Mel Gibson? I loved that movie but it didn’t go in the direction I wanted it to. I have always wanted to take that character and make a love story. Kind of a modern Beauty and the Beast.

5. Go for a walk, clean the house, or take a shower. Sometimes doing something mindless invites the creative part of your brain to throw out ideas. Just be ready to catch them.

6. Listen to music. Especially the radio in the car. I came up with the title to one article for my column from listening to the radio. It was back in the ’80’s and I wrote a ‘slice of life’ column in the local newspaper. The song was ‘Going Through the Big D and I don’t mean Dallas.’ My article was  – ‘Going Through the Big D and I Don’t Mean Dallas or Divorce’. I then went into a humorous anecdote about the other Big D – Driver’s license and what happened with my daughter and her test. That piece got the editor’s attention and me a column.

7. Just write. Words will beget more words until everything clicks and your story unfolds on the page. Set a timer.

Once you’ve got enough ideas to fill in the skeleton of your novel, start writing.

Where do you get your ideas? Do you ever get stuck and don’t know what to write next? What do you do?

Next week, I will share some information about writer’s conferences.

Hope your ideas flow like vanilla bean ice cream covered in bubbly hot fudge. 



Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Write a Novel


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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.


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Posted by on August 16, 2009 in Write a Novel


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