A Weekend in the Life of ‘Lil Writer Me
Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. It has been six months since my last post. I have a good excuse though. I’ve been finishing my debut novel, Off The Rails, which I am proud to say has flown the coop and rests in the hands of a prospective literary agent as we speak…well, as I type…or as you read. It’s all very exciting but that’s NOT what I want to talk about today.
Did you know that NaNoWriMo begins in two whole days – what are you writing about? Oh, there goes my ADD again…
All right…on to what I really need to say…
Last weekend, I attended the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, which happened to be my very first ever conference experience. And let me tell you, it was an experience I won’t ever forget. Every new writer must attend a good writers’ conference. I walked out of the hotel on Sunday afternoon feeling inspired, energized, confident and best of all, like I actually knew what I was doing every day I put my pen to paper or my fingers to my keyboard.
I met some incredible new friends. Fellow writers. People who, just like me, sit down each day, flip the brain switch to the on position and try like heck to create a world we hope our readers want to escape to.
My brain was saturated with even more information and tools to perfect my craft. I rubbed elbows with writers who are actually published. Not only are they published but they’re best selling authors! They took time from their lives to teach lil’ ol’ me what they know. Here’s a few of my highlights:
- The great Jack Whyte actually spoke to me for about fifteen seconds in the elevator – we talked scotch whiskey – and Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series, looked at me and said, “Good morning” as she passed by me in the lobby;
- Chuck Sambuchino is the man! First thing Friday morning, he helped me perfect my in‑person pitch. So much so, in fact, that when I pitched an agent later that day, she requested my full manuscript. I bow down to Chuck and his Guide to Literary Agents blog;
- The lovely and talented Elizabeth Engstrom showed me that even best selling authors write a terrible first draft and it’s all in the editing process – the polish and shine. And I gotta say, she teaches a pretty sweet class on how to write a steamy sex scene;
- Rob Ray, author of the Weekend Novelist books, actually read the first three pages of my novel…and said it was good…with a few minor changes of course. That’s the confidence I was talking about a few paragraphs ago.
- Bestselling author Robert Dugoni taught me how to torture my darlings. He was such an amazing speaker and presenter, I let him show me how to write the knockout query and synopsis;
- Romance novelist Nancy Warren, taught us how to ramp up the tension in our stories, sexual and otherwise. Best part was when we got to watch scenes from “The Fugitive” and “Pride and Prejudice”. Every good class about tension should have a little shot of Colin Firth and Harrison Ford…er, I meant audio visual aids;
- Award winning and hilarious author out of the Yukon, Ivan Coyote, just simply inspired me with her boot camp for the procrastinator. I’ll write about that tomorrow…perhaps. She is an inspiration to all of us who get up every morning, sit down, stare at a screen (or a page) and dream of one day making a living at this insane thing we love to do.
I can’t sum it up any better than I did earlier…I know what I’m doing. I’m confident. I am a good writer (okay, maybe that sounded a little cocky but you know what I mean).
Yes, I still have a lot to learn, but so do they and every day we all sit down and do the very same thing.
Because it’s our passion. It’s what we love. It’s what we do.
Oh, and one last thing, only two more sleeps till NaNoWriMo…