I went to my second writers conference last weekend.
I LOVE being with with so many people who are in the same boat as me. I joke around that writing conferences are like meat markets. . . you can walk up to anyone and know they are there for the exact same reason as you. No need for awkward, "so, what brings YOU to a place like this?" small talk.
Some highlights of my 2 days of writerly-talk fun are pitching to a lovely agent who didn't laugh me out the door when I talked to her about my new story. And the two rounds of The Gong Show. I learned so much about what agents like and--more importantly--what completely turns them off. Yeah. Good to know.
I took loads of notes in my classes, but I'm going to include some below. . . so in case my notebook goes missing (it could happen!), I will have them saved in cyber heaven. Also, one or two of you out there might be interested too. Oh course. :) Here are some of the points that really jumped out and grabbed me by the throat.
Make goals, write them down.
Where do I want to be in one year?
Treat writing as my job.
Start the story in the breath before everything changes.
Get characters out of their comfort zone.
Torture your mc.
What is the worst thing possible to do to my mc? Do that.
Keep characters in the moment...know their current desires, fears, etc.
Give characters a lack, a wound, a mystery to solve and an internal conflict.
Create a memorable BBT ("big bad troublemaker")
There must be a goal and an antagonist in every scene.
Be genuine not melodramatic.
Keep moving forward.
You are your brand.
"Break every rule." -James Rowland (Keynote speaker)
Wow. Just typing those out made me exhausted. Excuse me while I collapse.