So, it might not be a big surprise to those who know me, that I’m not a big fan of surprises.
As there was a discussion today at an author event — A Fabulous Event !!! At Fountain Bookstore — Disappointment is the emotion that’s hardest, or mostly impossible, to mask.
So, don’t try to surprise me. Fair warning.
But I do like it when Happy things happen spontaneously. Like today. Running errands, things to do, happen to go have Great Fish and Chips at our fav. place for that - Sine Irish Pub [hey, I didn’t realize there was one in Arlington, Va. as well as Richmond!] [they also have other great food too.]
But since we were down there in that ‘neck’ of Cary, we Had to stop in at Fountain Bookstore.
Uh, yeah. GREAT Independent Bookstore. ‘Nuff said. If you haven’t tried, you absolutely Should!
And Kelly happened to be having an author event with the lovely and lively Deanna Raybourn.
Well, as a ‘writer’ myself, who am I Not to support an author. Right? [Yes, I have a Great husband that has been around writers and writer talk so many years he has picked it up also. :::Evil grin::: ]
I had ‘heard’ of and seen Deanna Raybourn’s books around, I just hadn’t picked up any to read yet. Yes, I have a great husband but he does give me looks when he sees me around books, especially when they are coming home with me, since home is perhaps a ‘bit’ overcrowded with books.
[and no grief on writer not knowing what was going on with fellow writers and book events, I've been sick for over 2 weeks, said great husband sick over a week, so I'm sure we can manage a few hacking coughs still, in your direction.]
But even he was captivated by the author talk today. It really was a Great talk.
And even though there was ‘reader’ talk about her books, there was also great writer insight talk as well.
We all sat, enjoyably I think, for couple hours. And it was Great! Deanna was great! She talked about her agent, her editors, publishers, her books, as well as her favorite books. I was happily reminded of favorite books from my reading past, as well as happily jotting down new books to look at that she particularly liked.
I was surprised by our similar reading lists.
So, yes, no surprise, I bought two of her books.
Had to you know. Someone that enjoys So many of the same books you do, you have to get theirs to read as well. That’s just the way it is.
It was a great time of talking about books, and learning of new books and authors.
And I made promises to send couple of my favorites that hadn’t been introduced to her yet.
For all those that I have met recently and wanted the information -
The Really Great World Building info’ from a JRW Conference panel session I did is in this blog post.
With the Terrific information from authors Malinda Lo, Lana Krumwiede, and Christina Lewis Halpern
The Great post of Terrific historical writer Lucia Robson, and her list of references and resources is here on this post.
And be sure to look at posts couple days around those posts cause I did post other nice information and sources from other panelists!
And because I aspire to write beautifully and descriptively I did a blog post on Patricia A. McKillip’s wonderful writing here.
So, the only thing better on a rainy dark cool day like today than all this, is curling up with one of the new books bought. :::Grin:::
Or as has become a most popular panel at the James River Writers Conference each year, First Pages Critiques.
The Conference is in October - here’s the blurby from the JRW site, if you want more info’ and to keep up with all the news and latest happenings - yes, we have them! - Check in at the JRW site
And Sign up for the James River Writers Newsletter.
The 2013 James River Writers Conference will be held Saturday & Sunday, October 19-20, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Attendees can also register to attend pre-conference master classes Friday, October 18, at the Virginia State Capital.
The First Pages session has also gained ‘other’ names over the years such as ‘Simon Cowell / Idol for Writers’ depending on which agents we get to the Conference, but Really it isn’t That bad. Really. And the comments are always helpful to everyone! It really has been one of the most popular sessions for several years.
So put the Conference dates on your calendar, start saving your money, and while you are waiting check out the authors who are coming to the Conference in their JRW Twitter Chats - #JRWC13 -
And check them out on the JRW Goodreads ‘book club’
These thoughts on First Pages has been brought about by a Writer Unboxed blog post.
The post is titled What NOT to do when Beginning your novel.
But as we at the James River Writers Conference call it 1st Pages
- the importance of those First Pages, and all after that really, cannot be emphasized enough.
You think you’re busy trying to write the dang great novel, agents are inundated with ‘great novels’ all the time.
So get real. I am Not going to be doom and gloom though, it might take some time, and a Lot of hard work. But I read something recently that surprised me, several well known writers were saying they knew they weren’t the best writers, that often it’s not the greatest writers that get published, it’s the ones that are driven and never give up. Does explain some books though doesn’t it.
The writers and writing teachers were saying that the most gifted extraordinary writers often gave up, rather than persevere. Rather than figuring out what was going to sell or even making themselves better perhaps. And it’s a Lot of work! Not just always trying to write better and be a better writer, but also understanding that books are a business. And these days it’s even more important to do your research to know what your options are - and what your limits and tolerances are, and to figure out what’s right for You.
Since no matter how much time it takes you to research and write your book, your work isn’t over. You have to research agents as well. Not to mention the business of promotion and marketing. But that’s another discussion.
And since this one is about how Critical and Important those First Pages of your books are, the post on Writer Unboxed gives many agents giving their pet peeves.
One of the things I saw that was probably not intended was what we’ve been told and shown at James River Writers over the years — agents are human. They have their likes and dislikes and pet peeves just like the rest of humanity.
Which is why after you Finally get your book finished to the Complete best of your ability, done the best you can, you Have to research agents to try to figure out the best ones you think would be the best ones for your precious work. Course you do realize that They see Lots of people’s precious work so as anything in that much abundance, it loses it’s preciousness in those kind of quantities. Right? Yeah, yeah, not what we want but if you can embrace that, even a little, it’s helpful, believe me.
After you have researched your group of agents to send to, and Perfected your Query letter [another discussion] [and after perfecting your book, remember] and sit and anxiously wait, and perhaps get the dreaded Reject letter, it’s okay to sit and blink a moment. Then dust yourself off and research and send to more. Remember the surprising comment above about great versus persevering writers. Persevering writers who are working to get better we hope.
As the Writer Unboxed post highlights, agents are human, likes, dislikes, bad days and all the rest. Just because one thinks your precious stinks and sucks the universe, doesn’t mean every one will.
Remember, Every reader is different too. We all don’t like the same books so why would agents.
Hang in there. Believe me, most writers have been where you are - wherever that is!
Keep at it.
The post I keep talking about on Writer Unboxed is here.
I was reminded at James River Writers Writing Show at the end of February, that all writing is writing. And Editing.
But it all has things in common no matter what form you are working in.
It really struck that Writing is Writing.
And no matter what the subject of the James River Writers Writing Show is that month - they are always the last Thursday of the month — go to it.
You will definitely learn something.
Or at least be reminded of some good points.
Like THIS point - can it be repeated too many times?
the 1st 5-10 pages are crucial to hook the reader. Then you build the rest off a successful hook.
1st pages Critical with screenplay And books
First 5-10 pages need to hook the reader/viewer
First 5-10 pages need to hook the reader/viewer. #writingshow #writetip #jrwc13” Man. Novelists get one page.
Show Don’t Tell
Don't tell emotion can insinuate but keep lean to point
With any writing - after all, isn’t this what makes some writing flow along and others bog down?
keep the script lean, short, brief to the point.
you can have the best plot in the world, but ruin it with bad dialogue.
dialogue needs to be real, but not too real. Keep the interesting parts.
general rule of thumb, dialogue shouldn't be more than 4 lines. But there are cheats - breaking it up with actions.
when writing dialogue - spew it out, then go back and ask if it makes sense to say it that way.
when editing dialogue, there are multiple editing passes to get it right
dialogue is a 'musical' soundtrack to the story.
And to help with dialog - help readers keep individual characters straight:
Get to know char Find voice of char
know what the spine of the story. Follow the main characters, don't get distracted.
Network like crazy #jrwc13 Great advice for writers of any kind
Genre specific film festivals can help you more easily break into the film industry.
film festivals are great networking environments. You never know who you might meet.
Make sure you party and have fun at film festivals, but network network network the entire time
festival awards can be huge. Just placing as a finalist can open doors
participate in festivals and film groups. Network, network, network.
Go to conferences and festivals and network, network, network.
If you are doing screenplays - The Screenwriters Bible book Highly recommended
And don’t we all want to sell our writing -
Keeping the story marketable
And sell it well. Guess it would be redundant to say, sell-J.K. Rowling-well.
Selling your writing had some interesting thoughts - apparently giving ‘visual’ mental clues to the writing is important to screenwriting, but also helps people with ‘placing’ books as well.
Some of the interesting, uh, ‘visual’ comparisons mentioned at the Writing Show -
LOTR battle scene with paintballs instead of swords
[Translation for non-fans, of Twitter or Tolkien - Lord of the Rings with battle scenes with paintballs instead of swords.]
Not to mention this one -
"Psycho meets Goonies." Never thought I'd hear THAT at the #writingshow. #jrwc13
And some other great writing advice / thoughts :
When it comes to persevering in the writing/film business, being stubborn can be a strength
Understanding the business improves writing and producing skills.
important to know your audience.
Find where your project fits. Challenge yourself creatively.
Thanks to all the Twitter feeders from JRW Writing Show -
For more of their tips,
and just great Writing Tips
follow them on Twitter or tune in to hashtags #JRWC13 #jrwc13 #writingshow
#JRWC13 .. Either cap or uncap - will also get you the great Twitter Chats that are going on with authors coming to the JRW Conference in October as well! The Twitter Chats are happening all the time!
You can get great tips and information at ALL James River Writers Events -
Writers Wednesday - TOMORROW evening!
Writing Conference - October
Writing Show - next one, is about Killing Your Darlins’ [my southern translation. After all, it’s My blog, for more info’ on these and all events go over to the JRW site.
And even get a ’true’? Recap of the Feb. Writing Show, in non-Twitter speak.
So come to the Writing Show in couple weeks, on March 28th, and Tweet along with us.
— Get info’ on the JRW site
And speaking of JRW Events - James River Writers is a non-profit, which means we depend on your support and membership.
Another Great JRW event is their fundraiser in June.
Which is where JRWs Emyl Jenkins Award is presented. Emyl Jenkins was an active member and supporter of JRW, and an important supporter and champion of all writers everywhere. She touched a lot of writers and readers before she suddenly passed away in 2010, a great loss to JRW and to writers, especially to the ones who knew her, perhaps even greater to the ones that didn’t get that chance.
If you know of someone in Virginia who has made Virginia a better place for writers, we want to hear about them. Go over to the JRW site and nominate them for the Emyl Award. The guidelines are here -
Deadline is not that far away, so why not go do it now.
And keep making Virginia a better place for writers, like Emyl did.
For life. For Writing. For… well, you tell me.
On dealing with authors - perhaps having a little more compassion?
No one starts out to write an awful book.
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
— William James
The greatest power we have to affect our world is always at our fingertips: our ability to change how we see things…..
—— Ready for Anything book by David Allen
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end in life.
— Robert Louis Stevenson
The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.
For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin—real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
— Father Alfred D’Souza
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Perhaps we would word things differently but each has a voice that can, and will, speak to us.
Just as our stories do when we write them down.
Take from them what you will.
No, I’m not talking about some guy accosting you in a raincoat with books in a multitude of pockets.
But hey…. No, No, No, that’s not advocated. Unless it’s your neighborhood bookseller trying to save their business. And with the sad fact of the pressure on them these days……
This post is about the James River Writers Writing Show at the end of January:
January 31, 2013
Bookstore Battle Plan:
How to Get Your Writing into Bookstores
The panel consisted of Katarina Spears, Elizabeth Gleichman, and soon to be published Ginny Pye sitting in for Fountain Bookstore owner Kelly Justice who was so sick she couldn’t make it. [Kelly, hope you get well Soon!]
Katarina Spears manages the gift shops at the Library of Virginia, the Virginia State Capitol, and an international online store.
Elizabeth Gleichman is an Assistant General Manager at Books-A-Million.
And sitting in for Kelly Justice owner of independent bookstore Fountain Bookstore, www.fountainbookstore.com, was Ginny Pye soon to be published by a small literary press and giving her perspective as an author.
For more detailed information see the JRW website.
And there should be a more detailed posting of the night’s talk on the site, so be sure to check that out.
There was a teaser at the end of the evening of Pet Peeves of Bookstore Owners / Buyers, so hopefully those will be posted there also. There was some great information given but also a promise of more, so do be sure to check that out.
One of the things mentioned, and those writers that have been writing for awhile will perk up at this -
It was stated that JRW is a great Platform.
So if you’ve been hearing about you Have to Have a great platform, and let’s face it, if you haven’t heard it, you’ve not been working the business end of writing very long.
Then the next thing becomes the catch of as an author you Need a Great Platform, but if you are a nobody how are you going to get one.
Becoming a part of James River Writers can help you with that!
James River Writers is a non-profit that depends on its volunteers, and of course monetary support, so there has to be some way you can help JRW, and in return JRW helps you with knowledge and power on what it is to be a writer, and how to better your writing, and your career path.
So while you are roaming around on the JRW site, and of course, we hope you do, consider clicking and becoming a member. Or remember to Renew your membership. So all this knowledge and support can continue.
Now going from the unsponsored message of joining JRW back to the gist of the January Writing Show:
Of course when you bring up anything nowadays, talk will come up at some point about Social Media. Especially as it pertains to getting word out. And as authors and writers we are all going to have to do that and deal with that.
It was stated if you do have a book, or when you do, your book should have its own page on Facebook!
I guess it makes sense, I mean your characters and book take on a life and entity on it’s own anyway. Okay, so perhaps I’m taking that a little far. *Grin* But perhaps use it as one of the memory things to remember to create a page for your book.
Wonder if it needs its own Twitter account too? Too far? *Grin*
It was mentioned that figuring out the key phrases that get retweeted can help your retweet ratio. Well, if you include them in your original tweets of course.
A lot of what was said was commonsense stuff that most mamma’s trained into you from an early age. Or should have anyway.
Be respectful. Play nice. Treat everyone with respect and courtesy.
Treat your bookseller as a professional, I mean they are you know. Make appointments to approach them to talk about selling your book.
And Don’t think of it as selling your book — or really as you’ve seen people doing, pressuring you to buy, - think of it as making a connection with people.
They might not buy right at that moment, for whatever reason, but that doesn’t mean they won’t buy it later. And recommend it to all their friends.
You just never know.
Like my own personal tidbit, be careful what you say in Public, you never know who’s at the next table listening. If it’s complimentary and Good, by all means, go for it. If it isn’t, first you might want to figure out why it isn’t - you might just find it’s nothing to do with the other person at all, it’s something in you that you have to deal with, that you just don’t recognize and want to deal with. Yep, you can only change you, you know. And you remember the first impressions and all that. Take a long time to change, if ever.
It also seems that giveaways work really well for getting traffic in on your site and buzz about your book.
As well as, whatever you can do to generate interest, flashing lights, rolling trailers, etc…. Uh, maybe not the guy with the trench coat with large pockets. Just might want to rethink that, all I’m saying.
Oh, and if you have Anyone show up at your book signing, be Grateful!
Don’t grouch and complain. Also see my rule about talking in public above.
Be grateful and appreciative of what you do have. If you are at your own book signing that means you’ve made it at least that far. And there’s a whole lot of us that are out here still working toward that. So you have much to be thankful for, no matter where you are in your life. Be Thankful.
*Found in notes - Educate Yourself about it !
How do we keep all the social media from devouring us - and all our time?
Daunting, Difficult, and…and…. Dastardly !
Especially as writers we try to find time to keep on writing. [Or like Some of us - work on getting back to it.]
We are told we Have to establish a social ‘identity’ and …. Blah, blah, on and on. Most of us are familiar with the rest of that refrain. [If not, comment below, and I’ll fill it in for you]
What is never quite clear is how we are supposed to integrate it / shove it / shoe-horn it into our probably already over-crowded time-pressed lives.
Not whining. Really. I’m well aware I am Very blessed, and don’t have it as difficult as some. But that also does not mean my life is dripping roses skipping down a bucolic lane to a mansion. Totally efficient and spotlessly clean of course. With clean, and folded, laundry. [Hey, I can still dream. Course I might add a cook to that dream also.]
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect. Or maybe, like, Ever turn out way we expect. So we get creative and write our happy endings. Right?
Okay, so we don’t have our happy endings. Yet. We can still hope and dream. And see what we can work on in the meantime.
Which means working out the Social Media kinks in our time lines / lives.
I came across this, that might help a little.
Has some interesting tips that you might find useful.
Even as Writing Helps they can be useful -
# 1 Don’t expect to be Perfect. Enough said. Even as Writing Advice. Keep Working toward it, but don’t expect it. Especially on your first draft. ….maybe even your second draft.
And some of the other advice is worth mentioning — and applying to a Writing Life as good Writing Advice.
Take care of yourself.
Know your audience.
Prioritize what Really matters. Or my add to it - what really matters to You.
Realize you can’t do everything at once.
Like Writing and Social Media and Everything else!
Yeah, you’ve heard / seen about all the studies about multi-tasking, right? Myth. We - None of us are very good at multi-tasking. No matter What we think. And according to what I saw recently those that believe they Are really Good, are the worst.
But since I’m not going to convince you with this post on that point, on to next advice -
And most of all, take #19 to heart. Connect With Like Minds
James River Writers in Richmond, Virginia gives a great opportunity with its programs for writers in the area. From the Writing Show - Tomorrow Night, Thursday, January 31st - and each month through August on the last Thursday of the month. To Writers Wednesday the 2nd Wednesday of Each and Every month, where everyone casually mingles and shares ideas and commiserations on such things as this. And the Conference in October. Not to mention several things along the way, so keep check on the JRW website for more ways to Connect with Like Minds!
There are other interesting links and info’ on the post so feel free to go check it out….. It Would be nice if you came back here and shared what caught your eye. That I might need to take a second, or third, look at.
And since I still have ‘reality’ of laundry to take care of and the rest of it, I have to go and attack it right now. Before it attacks me.
And if I am not at the Writing Show tomorrow night send a search party. Bring chocolate.
I’m back. For a few minutes. Then I must rush off again.
This is a new year for everyone, including for James River Writers non-profit organization. After celebrating 10 years at the Conference last October, change is in the air. Oh wait, that was snow, then sleet then …70 degree weather. Really. For couple of days. Or hours. [Is wind chill really 38 degrees, can that even be at 70+ degrees, or is the weather even messing with the Weather Channel too much?] JRWs changes will last longer.
James River Writers very popular Writing Shows starts up again on this Thursday evening, January 31.
Author Twitter Chats have already started back up - don’t miss them.
Writers Wednesday get togethers are going strong. Second Wednesday of every month, check the locations to see if we’re near you. But come anyway, no matter where. Always fun.
And of course the Conference in October.
To keep up with everything going on be sure to sign up for the JRW newsletter and check the website often.
Since this is a new year - okay so I’m still trying to clean up last year. I don’t believe I’m the Only one still doing that. I realized in all the hectic whirl that became my life last year I didn’t post notes and links, to one of my sessions from the Conference.
I do apologize for not getting to it before. Since it was a Great session. *Grin*
So here it is -
JRW Conference Part 4
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2012
Point of View
Explore issues of person, narrative voice, form, tone, and tense while discussing the narrators who carry your story.
Overall - Tell the story you have. that you need to tell, the way you need to tell it. According to how many points of views you need, even if it's 24, or 48, or first person plural.
How she had to find it within herself to answer the question of who was she to write this book.
This is her actual query letter sent to get her agent. With her agent’s comments.
"My query letter is actually here:
nbsp; That’s what I used to find my agent! "
And her agent she got from this query letter gives her comments there also.
Evidently 101 queries, or several more, is the charm, she said she queried hundreds. So DON’T give up!
There were Lots of Great things / info’ tweeted at the Conference at #JRWC12
And I’m sure there will be more things this year - including Author Twitter Chats
So join in on Twitter #JRWC13
So stay tuned - to JRW - and here!
Wow. Seems a bit odd being here after such a long absence.
Perhaps I have been seeing too much Downton Abbey but I feel like this is an empty house I should quietly enter, remove my hat, and stare around at the dust covers and drifting leaves being blown in the door behind me.
I have been meaning to do better, to visit here more often. I have Thought about it. But other things have pulled me away, doing other things.
I could make promises to be here posting more often and have witty scintillating things to say, but then that would sound more like a feckless secret lover flitting off to more exciting things and people.
……Hmmm, Well, since I feel like I’m alone here most of the time anyway, and this is sort of one of my less talked about ‘secret’ things, might not be that far off I guess.
But no time to linger for now. I must be off again. My cup of tea is ready to sip and I must flit on to other things to do.
Bye for now.
Okay, so I could be all coy and all and say I was teasing you along with this stretched out posting of notes from the James River Writers Conference.
But it really isn’t that. It’s just … ‘life’ …and all that entails, from bad storms called Sandy, which Thankfully we did okay with, to everyday things of shopping, cooking, cleaning up, and all the laundry wearing and cleaning…. And yes, it is too cold to go … well, never mind.
The James River Writers Conference had great information. There was a great session on World Building.
Yes, I know there was, I had the honor of moderating it. And there was Really Terrific information given out. And generously allowed to be put on the James River Writers site, which hopefully will be there soon, but I’ve copied it below as well. Here, I’ve added some of my notes.
One of things I realized as I was reading all the books and writings of the writers on the panel, which were non-fiction and fantasy writers, was that I hang around with a lot of fantasy writers.
Since I thought of World Building as a fantasy genre element. In the research I did for the panel, I realized that Every story has world building elements. As writers, we must bring a reader into whatever world we are writing about, fiction, no matter what genre, and non-fiction, no matter what kind.
I came across one blog where the writer posited that historical writers were some of the greatest world builders around.
Having met Lucia Robson last year when she was at the James River Writers Conference, and read her historical fiction books, based on real people, I can understand that thought.
For my notes on my session last year with Lucia and other writers, see my blog post here,
Check out Lucia’s site, Books, and Audio and Video clips here.
In studying and researching World Building I saw the long list of questions from Patricia C. Wrede mentioned many, many times. Including, by both Lana and Malinda. [See their sites / blogs.]
It does have some great questions to think about.
A Lot of great questions to ask yourself.
A Long list.
Good but long.
Read these instead. It’s easier. Then you can get back to your NaNoWriMo.
Saturday - Oct. 20, 2012
Concurrent Sessions — 3:45 to 4:45 PM
World Building Idea Lab
Christina Lewis Halpern
Shawna Christos, moderator
This discussion of big-picture world building includes prompts to spark a story or enrich the world you’re writing. Great for fiction and nonfiction writers alike.
See sites and information below. How they wrote. Suggestions of how to World Build.
Things to think about as you Build your World.
As well as things you might not want to do as you World Build.
From Questions to ask yourself as you begin to World Build.
Micro World Building. Macro World Building.
Examples. Internal World Building. Applying to All Writers and Writing.
Not as good as being at the Conference Session, but definitely good to help you remember the wonderful speakers and their great information.
But there's a lot of Terrific information on the author's links so dig around and enjoy!
My memoir was certainly a case of internal world building. Here are some prompts for internal and cultural world building:
- Put yourself into the mind of your character. What is she seeing and how does she feel about what she's seeing?
- People like to think of themselves as rational, but really they are motivated by the push and pull of their emotions. Figure out what your character's motivation and then fit that emotion into the world you've created. For instance, if your character is ambitious and status-obsessed can you have them describe and analyze each person they see according to your world's hierarchy?
- Can you allow the world you are creating to unfold naturally via your characters' experiences and point of view?
While my memoir is based on the real world, I felt that I was describing experiences that might be alien to many of my readers. So I used my emotions to ground people in my reality. I was concerned that people would not buy into my concept, which is that being the daughter of a very successful man is not necessarily easy. So I used my emotions to make my situation relatable. This worked for many people, though not all.
First, think of an imaginary technological development. Don't stop with the first thing that comes to your mind. Think of different areas: medical, communications, transportation, etc. Make a long list before choosing the one that looks interesting.
Answer the following questions about this new technology:
- For what purpose what the technology invented?
- Who developed it?
- Who opposes it?
Now, look for the conflict the technology will create:
- Think of at least three uses for this technology other than the intended one.
- Think of at least three professions this technology will create or alter.
- Think of at least three ways this technology could be abused.
Now, find a character that has something at stake:
- Create three characters who have a lot to gain from this technology.
- Create three characters who have a lot to lose from this technology.
One of the things I discovered is that there is "macro" world building (politics, economy, culture, traditions of a large society) and there is "micro" world building (traditions, divisions of labor, religious practices, etc, of this particular family)
When I was developing the story idea for Freakling, I kept a notebook with all my research notes about the world I was creating. It has things like maps, floor plans, photos of landscapes and clothing, the rules of psi, a timeline of prior events. I had to keep that all straight, somehow.
1. Ask yourself these questions about the magic system in your novel, if you're writing a fantasy:
Who has it (the magic)?
What does it do?
How do you make it happen?
How is the user affected?
How is the world affected?
How are magic users grouped and perceived?
2. Do people in your fictional world celebrate birthdays? How would they celebrate a birthday?
3. Ask yourself these questions about the power structure in your world:
Who is powerful in your world?
Who is weak?
Who wants to be powerful?
4. What is your main character's favorite place to be?
5. What kind of food would the people in your world eat on a special occasion?
OCT 8, 2012
Five Foundations of World-building
See I Told you - Good Stuff.
And as Always, for more great Conference notes check out Twitter #JRWC12
I am thankful, from the looks of Twitter-sphere anyway, that so many of our great speakers that were here recently at the James River Writers Conference are safe and sound.
Here are some more notes from the Conference.
For more great tips, notes, and such, go to Twitter and look for #jrwc12
Also check out Denise’s great blog posts of her notes - especially hers on the Website session.
Insight Into Your Site: Website 101
Maya Payne Smart, moderator
Who needs a website and when? What should be included? Do you need book trailers and bells and whistles? Panelists will critique attendees’ websites, if desired, suggesting ways to improve content and navigation.
To think about - What drives people to websites - Concentrate on something to offer the world …think branding
Neil Gaiman - regularly visits his site, creates changes, and blogs regularly. Doesn’t leave it static.
Tess Gerritson started with email list putting out creepy biological fact of the day.
Chuck Wendig TerribleMinds.com his website got him noticed / published.
Your website should be - Simple Consistent and have Clear way to contact author
Absolutely present on a writer’s website:
All need an editor to make sure no typos or anything
Has a Professional image Good writing
Some professional head shots
Have your Blog live on home page
Make sure your site is Not static Constantly refreshing content
If an active on Fb or Twitter presence but only if active
Put a button for Fb and / or Twitter button
Make sure have Contact info
Place for comments on your website
These were mentioned as really wanted to see on author’s site -
high res AND low res pics, Both B & W, and Color
a short bio and a more in depth longer bio.
Downloadable press kit
Front page dynamic
Your Twitter acct. But it should not take the place of your blog site.
Update your blog at least once a week.
Erin has blog tour / map of NY … pods casts, can listen to, etc… Erin’s clean Blog She paid $35 for a Wordpress Template
She has Buy Book button on each page
Trust the Gatekeepers
David Henry Sterry
Valley Haggard, moderator
Hear the benefits of working with an agent and learn secrets that will move your work out of the slush pile.
David talked about the Art of the Follow Up Do follow up with agents - Very politely and recognizing they are people too.
Molly takes digital submissions only. Wait 6 wks or more to Follow up. Gets 150 queries a wk. Maybe takes 2 new clients a year.
Yes, do multiple queries. Agents expect it. No need to say.
Agents at her place specialize in diff. Genres.
Know the market value of your book
Setting and managing expectation.
Places to look at on Line — Rachelle Gardner, Absolute Write Cooler
Everyone wants that feeling of falling in love
Agents want to fall in love with your characters.
Make your Query Letter - query pitch nothing like she has ever seen before
Molly looks at way author has presented themselves on Twitter etc….
Googles their names … she cyber stalks people, and checks them out before offers to represent. Makes sure they aren’t crazy-pants
With looking at brand new agent, look at the agency they’re with.
Molly recommends look for / get established shop
Brad Parks shared his personal experiences with agents.
His first agent had been an agent at a big publishing house. But after getting really bad offer for his 3rd and 4th book - after his first two had done really well, he started asking around and no one had heard of his agent.
And that was why he was getting the awful offer. So he fired the agent and got a new one.
It was emphasized the importance of getting a Good agent.
When an agent negotiates for you, the publishing houses also keeps in mind the other clientele that agent handles.
The way it was put, your agent goes in with their whole clientele list sitting on their shoulder when they are negotiating for you / your book.
Have to know what your goals are. Know what you want.
If getting form rejections all the time, you are doing something wrong. Figure it out and change.
If start getting some better comments / not form rejections, getting better.
You should have the feeling that you have the best agent in the world.
With smaller agencies have to ask harder questions.
Sign up for Publishers Marketplace when ready to start querying process.
—— Mentioned in another session Not to use the printed ‘find an agent’ books, since they are usually old and out-dated by time come out.
Do Your Research