4 Reasons Why You Should Attend Writing Events.

There are numerous writing events run throughout the year and I believe that as a  writer you should attend at least some of them.  Of course, pick and choose those that appeal to you. A book talk by a favourite author, a convention or a workshop.

What are the benefits of attending such events?

An event where you can learn and make new connections

1.Informationyou don’t know what you don’t know!

Perhaps you are confused by the term ‘Show Don’t Tell’– you’ve heard explanations but are still unclear- and then you attend a talk and the presenter explains it so well that suddenly it makes sense.

Maybe Goal Motivation and Conflict are difficult to implement and then an explanation clarifies the concept. This was clarified  for me at the recent  Rockingham Writers’ Convention. Natasha Lester author of The French Photographer/ aka  the New York times bestseller The Paris Orphan  presented a workshop made the whole concept clear and accessible.

French

An incident happens because of an action taken by someone, they took that action because of an emotion they felt to try and achieve a goal and they want that goal because it satisfies a need. Obviously, the goal is not easily achievable, and the events and challenges are what adds complication to the plot and keep us reading. We want to live the story – experience the emotion, it’s the reason most of us read fiction. Knowing the concept is one thing now to try and apply it to my own writing.

I also attended a talk called ‘Trouble is Our Business’ presented by Guy Salvidge. This presentation was about crime writing. Now I don’t currently write crime, but I do read it, enjoying Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks series. Michel Robotham’s recent hits  including his latest Good Girl Bad Girl. as well as Robet Galbraith’s Corman Strike series and Ann Cleeves Shetland series.  I may one day decide to write crime although I prefer the cosy end of the spectrum In that spirit, I attended this informative talk.

crime scene do not cross signage
We have a fascination wth crime.

Writing crime is definitely Guys’ passion and he led us through the tropes which make up the genre. There is a cornucopia of crime from the Golden age  (1930s- 40s) to domestic noir to cosies to psychological crime.an offshoot could be considered is legal fiction. Then there are books written from the perspective of a detective, a police officer or even from the criminal themselves. There are even light-hearted crime novels such as Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Guy reminded us that crime fiction has its own rules of genre and that you will need to research carefully if you set your book in an earlier era. Crime is not just about the crime-its about place and person and atmosphere. Readers know their genre and know what they expect.

 

Apart from the informative talks, it’s the mix and mingling which contributes to your learning. You find out which contests are worth entering or which publisher is accepting submissions, as well as learning of less than stellar experiences with editors and publishers. Sadly, every business has its sharks

 

  1. Connection. Writing can be a lonely business. Just you alone in front of the screen talking to your imaginary people. To write about life you need to live it. An event is an opportunity to meet people- to talk, to laugh, to share. Even if you are writing futuristic fantasy – there has to be something that resonates with your human readers.

 

Be friendly and approachable you never know who you will meet.

3 Encouragement. Hearing success stories boosts your morale and your intentions to do more and to be more. You realise these people faced daily challenges too, such as carving out time to write, battling self – doubt, taking children to school, or even working full time. They have dared to follow their dream and you can too.

For me the most encouraging and inspiring presentation was that of Josh Langley, talking about ‘Finding your Creative Mojo.’ He developed this talk from his book fo the same name and geared it specifically for writers. He’s living the life he once dreamt about and shared how as a double high school dropout he achieved his dreams. We laughed, we empathised and we came away  engaged and inspired.

41453694

Not officially billed ,but as much a part of the presentation was Andy Macleod. Josh’s long-time life partner, business partner and friend. When he spoke about going to university as a mature aged student, I really connected. It’s what I have done, and I found it a life-changing experience. The courses I took opened my mind and gave me the tools to express myself.

Andy’s quote  from Joseph Campbell has stayed with me

‘The cave you fear to enter has the treasure that you seek.’

woman standing inside cave
The cave we fear to enter

Finding your creative spark is all about ignoring the inner voice, the critic, and entering that cave.

 

4 Visibility.

Attending events reinforces your sense of identity as a writer. You have found your tribe. Others recognise you, ask about your work, talk about theirs. You may make a connection that lasts a lifetime or find a critique partner to exchange work with. By being visible you remind others of your presence and your work. This may lead to other opportunities to collaborate with someone, to speak on a panel, or to give an author talk Equally importantly you can share any information you have gained along the way with less experienced writers. Be generous, remember who helped you and thank them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grab Those Coloured Pencils and Improve Your Writing

  Do You Show or Tell in Your Writing?

 

It is often difficult to assess your own work, but there is a way to see what you are doing.

color draw colored pencils mirroring
Pencils to highlight your writing.Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Colouring! Yes really, grab yourself some coloured marker pens or coloured pencils and prepare to be enlightened.

I heard of this concept during a presentation that Natasha Lester author of The Paris Seamstress made during the Rockingham Writer’s convention. This is how she explained her system. By the way, this applies to all popular commercial fiction but not so much to literary fiction.

Action – Coloured PINK

Dialogue- Coloured-BLUE

Thought– Coloured YELLOW

Description-Coloured GREEN

Transitions—BLANK -NOT COLOURED

Back story-Coloured ORANGE.

She suggested colouring action and dialogue first  to show you the balance of those,

Ideally, they should be most of the page, at least 60% but not in huge blocks of colour. Interweave with other aspects of the story.

Doing this enables you to SEE what you need to change, to add or subtract.

book chapter six
Photocopy a couple of pages of a favourite book. Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

 

If you feel this may be too confronting you can always photocopy two or three pages from a book and try it with them.

Your goal is not to emulate them, your goal is to see whether they get it right or wrong and to improve your own writing. The only person you need to compare yourself with is the self of yesterday are you learning, growing, progressing?

motivational quotes
Remind yourself how far you have Ncome.Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com