Friday, March 27, 2015

Finding Time for Yourself: The Value of Writing Retreats

Writers who take on a book learn that it is always connected to their lives, some way, somehow.  Even if the story is about another planet.  Even if the writer is making it all up.   

We can't write completely outside of who we are, especially when we're spending 300 pages doing so.  This means we must face ourselves squarely, look at our motivation for our project, as well as any oh-so-personal obstacles to getting there.

It requires being alone with our creativity.  Writing retreats are great places for this to happen.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Studying Stephen King: Subtext and Dialogue Use by a Master

My April 2 dialogue workshop is almost sold out, so I wanted to give those of you who are coming (and anyone who can't come) a jump start on understanding subtext in dialogue.  Subtext is the undercurrent in written dialogue. 

It makes dialogue expand from information-giving to emotion- and tension-fostering.  It's what makes dialogue really work.  And what gets your manuscript past that round (rejection) file.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Navigating a Big Writer's Conference--What's Best to Do, What Do You Bring, How to Make the Most of Your Time and Money

This spring, two major writing conferences happen.  One is the annual AWP (Associated Writing Programs) conference in Minneapolis on April 8-11.  The other is the Muse and the Marketplace, the premier New England conference sponsored by Grub Street writing school, on May 1-3 in Boston. 

Mega-conferences are high opportunity and high overwhelm.  Concurrent workshops, panels, and pitch sessions with agents tempt you to multi-task or bilocate.  But the best results often come from thinking carefully ahead of time about what you want to leave with--more skills, more contacts, a sense of where you are in the publishing process, a hopeful connection with an agent? 

Dialogue Skills to Develop Real or Imagined Characters--And Help Sell Your Book to a Publisher!

Imagine a publisher sitting in front your manuscript.  By some wild luck, and your hard work, it has arrived in his or her hands.  Now it awaits trial.  Will it pass or fail?

The publisher skims the pages until a section of dialogue appears.  It's read and the entire book is judged on how the dialogue moves.  If it's good, the publisher turns back to the first pages and begins to read your story.  If the dialogue is clunky, the manuscript is set aside with a sigh (or a laugh) and the publisher moves on to the next in the stack.