Friday, June 21, 2013

My Panel!

Egad, I have six weeks to put together and perfect a panel presentation for the Romance Novel Convention, being held in Las Vegas. Yup. The one on what I learned about writing from nearly dying. You remember, that one!

So…the plan…an outline and a panel. Yup. That’s the plan…

And what part do you, the crew of the most fabulous blog in the entire cyber seas have to do with all of this?

I’m begging you for some information. Because I can only blather so much and need something to handout… Can ya answer some questions for me?

1)      What websites do you find the most helpful when you’re looking for help with formatting, or submitting or writing or any of that malarkey?

2)      Do you have favorite books on the craft? Including the ones to help with when you’re just stuck…

3)      Organizations? Conventions? Methods? Classes?

4)      Words of wisdom, from favorite writers, editors?

Yeah, I know…but let’s face it, I’m a rocket in my pants type of writer and don’t plot, don’t take many classes… I'd just like ta have somethin' ta hand out that can be useful, along with information on the heart, and PTSD and dealing with fear...

So! I need ya, crew! I promise to praise the blog and all of ye scurvy crew. Hell, already planned ta speak of how my new found bravery after nearly dying took me ta reach out and crawl aboard the ship…and the rest be history!

And…share with me what makes a panel interesting for you? So I don’t put anyone to sleep…



Marnee Bailey said...

I'm not sure I have websites to help. But as to revisions, I loved this book. Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon.

For help writing, I love this one by Orson Scott Card.

I took Margie Lawson's EDITs class and thought it was great. I also like Carol Hughes's Deep Story class.

I'd suggest RWA, SCBWI for children's writers, and local conventions give you lots of bang for your buck.

Words of wisdom? I'm not one that needs motivation to write. I always feel like I should be writing. To the exclusion of everything else. So I'll leave you with what Caroline told me (Caroline Linden, She says Real Life first. Yes, you have to make room for writing. But the other is more important. Don't write to the exclusion of everything. Your spouse wants to see your face. Your kids need you. Your family (moms, dads, siblings, etc) are counting on you.

It's all about balance.

Terri Osburn said...

I'm not sure I'm going to be much help either. All my craft books are on a shelf at home, so I'll look tonight and share some titles.

I'll also have to spend time gathering some websites. I know there were many I followed over the years, but I don't look at them much now. All the names Marn mentions would be on my list as well.

As to words of wisdom, it's all about having faith and believing in your self. Believe in your story and let your characters take over. Forget rules and marketing and just write. Most of all, enjoy the writing. Life is too short, to spend that many hours doing something you don't enjoy. It doesn't get any easier once you get a contract, so you better love it.

Janga said...

My four favorite quotes on writing—the ones I read every day:

“Don't look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.” --Anne Lamott

"The real payoff is the writing itself . . . a day when you have gotten your work done is a good day . . . total dedication is the point."
--Anne Lamott

“Planning to write is not writing. Outlining ...researching ...talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.” --E. L. Doctorow

“Action, reaction, motivation, emotion—all have to come from the characters.” --Nora Roberts
Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.” --Annie Dillard

My four favorite craft books:

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life —This is the best advice for writers I’ve ever encountered. It’s not a checklist or exercises; it’s about attitude and identity.

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass—This is the how-to book, with lots of exercises and examples from books, some of which you will have read.

A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves—This one contains wonderful writing prompts to prime the pump. I use it to play when I hit a wall and almost always end up returning to the WIP with new ideas.

The Emotional Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression – by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi—I just bought this one yesterday on Deborah Smith’s FB recommendation, but I’m in love with it. If you need to show, not tell, that a character is irritated, nostalgic, or remorseful (or feeling any one of 72 other emotions), this thesaurus gives you a list of physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses, and cues for acute expression of the emotion.

My four favorites web sites for writers: -- a ton of great, practical information from an experienced writer and teacher of writing. --something new and helpful every day with a wealth of archived information in interviews with authors in various genres and articles on craft by the likes of Barbara Samuel, Donald Maass, and Therese Walsh. --Patricia Wrede’s worldbuilding questions, divided by topic; created for fantasy writers but useful for any fiction writer. --my favorite spot when I need to laugh at my writing self.

Janga said...

I can count. I just forgot to delete the Dillard quote when I added the second Lamott quote. But all five are good.

Terri Osburn said...

Well, Janga took care of that. LOL! Those are the books and sites I'd suggest. Thank you, Janga, for saving me that time!

Janga said...

I'm sorry, Ter. I suffer from Hermione Syndrome. :(

Terri Osburn said...

No worries! That was a sincere thank you. :) You got all the good ones. I'd maybe add the Stephen King book for craft (which I haven't actually read yet.)

Maureen said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely! Scribbling madly...copy, paste... These handouts will just look lovely!

I'm really not lazy crew, I do have a few books I like, too... Stephen King's is one of them! Hillary Retig's book on how to beat procrastination is a great one.

I loved the W-Method class I took, And Terri? That one we took from Lani was a good one for me. (Not that I'd ever use those methods again, but it was helpful then!)

I still think Christie Craig's panel on rejection was one of the best I've ever seen. And the Beginner's Writer Workshop at RT changed my life.

Marn - I've heard a lot about the EDITs class, but never looked into it. Not sure why, I think because it's too organized and I know that wouldn't work for me, but I've heard a lot of good things about it!

Terri - You always come up with good stuff and I know the places to visit on line that you come up with will be awesome!

Janga - One of these days, you're gonna have ta teach a class...all that knowledge! Hermione Syndrome? Love it!

Haleigh said...

I'd like to second Marn on the Orsen Scott Card book. That one is part of a series, and they've released a new edition of that book, by someone other than Card (can't remember who) and it's not as a good. It's worth tracking down the original version by him.

Some favorite quotes of mine:

If you want to preach, write a sermon. If you want to change our minds, write a compelling essay. If you want to change the way we see the world, write a powerful story.-- Matt Mikalatos (no idea who that is now :)

In my opinion, what makes a writer is the doing it. Day after day, it's the hunger to be better. To create. A willingness to take the knocks when they come. To work through the days when it feels like you are doing the writing equivalent of pushing a turnip through a fine sieve. And then, again, it's about loving the writing when you hit a groove that makes the process feel pure magic.

~ Natasha Oakley
Living the Creative Life

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.

~Joseph Pulitzer

Don't loaf and invite inspiration. Light after it with a club, and if you don't get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.

~Jack London

Haleigh said...

Oh and - still (IMO) the best place to get info on formatting, submissions, queries, etc

Haleigh said...

opps -

Maureen said...

Thanks, Hal. I don't think I've ever seen the Jack London quote...

How do you feel about the Seton Hill program? Do you feel it was worth the work and time?

MsHellion said...

This is probably the best book I've read in a while on craft, and I have just about every writing craft book there is (with a few more on the way). But I did read this one start to finish and loved it (very intuitive and approachable); and Stephen King's ON WRITING is also one I've actually read start to finish and highly recommend (it's more inspirational than practical tips. Depends what the writer is looking for in their craft book.)

Advice. Hmm. You know how Nora always says "I can revise anything but a blank page"? That's very straightforward, but I think there is something connected with it. I think you have to let go of your ego associated with the page and what you're putting on the page. It's probably not healthy for you to say "I am a writer" and make it your sole identity because if you're not writing (and sometimes you won't be), you're freaking out because being A WRITER is your thing and you're now a failure at it because a writer writes. So if you're the kind of person (like me) who obsesses about your identity being associated with writing and being a writer (i.e. which steam rolls into I'm only a success if I'm a writer who's writing), you can lose the joy of actually writing. So to connect back with your joy of writing, you have to remove your ego from the page. I think this is why we say the Muse took over and we wrote several pages and had fun. We weren't constantly obsessed for page after page that this must be the best thing I've ever written because I have a contract or I need a contract or I promised myself I'd quit if this book didn't sell. Sure you need motivation to get words down, but negative motivation rarely, rarely works and doesn't work for the long-haul.

Again, that might be an only me sort of issue. I get told a lot, "But you're a WRITER" and though I love being recognized as a writer (ego), the Other Voices remind me I'm not a published writer or even a multi-finished-WIP writer--and then it spirals downwards. So instead, it's better to just be Hellie. I'm Hellie. I like to write; I love to fling dialogue on a page and make characters come alive. I also love to paint and make pottery and occasionally garden (so long as I don't get a rash)...and just about anything that I can touch that turns into something beautiful, useful, inspirational. But it means I'm beautiful, useful and inspirational, not the writing--does that make sense? That's possibly more narcissistic sounding. Interesting. Whatever. You know what I mean.

Remove ego, trust the process, dare to be naked. That's my advice.

MsHellion said...

Oh, and I'd show them that TED talk with Elizabeth Gilbert about creativity....

P. Kirby said...

1) What websites do you find the most helpful when you’re looking for help with formatting, or submitting or writing or any of that malarkey?

Since there is variation from publisher to publisher, I go straight to the source and check the pub's submission requirements. I still format my stuff old skool, as per the suggestions on SFWA's site. But the publisher is the final word.

If I have technical questions (software), I do the Google thing which is usually more effective than using the software's help.

Frankly, Google is my fallback for research, checking spelling, usage, etc. I've got style manuals and such on my shelves, but it so much easier to just Google.

2) Do you have favorite books on the craft? Including the ones to help with when you’re just stuck…

No. I don't like "craft" books. If I'm stuck, I pick up a favorite (fiction) book and start reading. I learn by looking at what the masters, i.e., my writing heroes, have done.

3) Organizations? Conventions? Methods? Classes?

Ditto, question two. I like chatting with folks online and in person, but I don't get much out of classes, etc., anymore.

4) Words of wisdom, from favorite writers, editors?

"Start a project and stick with it to the end. Don’t fall into the trap of rewriting chapter one until it’s perfect. And don’t discard everything you write halfway through because you’re sure it sucks. Writing stuff that sucks is part of the learning process!" ~Janet Evanovich

"To write any kind of imaginary work, you gotta fall on your sword. You gotta be ready to be blasted out of existence. Lots of times, the blood is on the floor." ~Arthur Miller

Maureen said...

Good words, Hel!

Scribble, scribble!

Pat - what works for you works for you. And with the web right there it's easy to have what you need at your doorstep. So true!

Di R said...

I'm late, but chiming in none the less!

1. one website that I really like is these are the ladies who put out The Emotion Thesaurus, they also have a physical attributes, a color, color, texture, ?, and weather lists on the site. Amazing for helping with description.

2. Anything by Donald Maas (and if you get the chance to hear him speak-GO!)
The Bookshelf Muse
Deb Dixon's GMC

3. I really enjoyed Carol Hugh's Deep Story class, and the yahoo loop after the class is worth it.

Terry and Hellion's workshop is fun and informative. And the teachers are accessible and pull the best out of you.

I am the workshop moderator for my local chapter, and I have to say that if you know you're writing is weak in an area, that is what you should look for a class in. Also, if you're interested in a class but aren't sure if it will cover what you hope it to-email the workshop moderator or presenter. They will get back to you, because the last thing they want is for you to leave that class not getting what you hoped for.

4. Fear is what you pass on your way to success. -Theresa Behenna