Wednesday, August 20, 2008
More Tips from Nationals!
Can you put up with one more post about RWA Nationals? As always, I came home with so much great information and want to share a few tips I picked up throughout the week.
Brenda Novak talked about layering conflict. She starts with the suspense and then builds the romance from there. Personal conflict is important so the reader will care about the characters. Brenda suggested always going deeper with conflict. Write prologues in the present and not the past so the action occurs in real time.
Encouraging writers to take risks, Brenda gave the following examples:
●Use grittier language
●Make characters opposite of what you personally would do
●Use outrageous speech for your characters
●Put thoughts into dialogue
●Write something that makes the character uncomfortable
Talking about subtext, Novak said:
●Trust the reader is as smart as you, the writer
●Readers pick up on subtle movement, etc.
She also listed the reasons a villain kills, taken from the CRIME WRITERS REFERENCE GUIDE:
Brenda added that great characters traits have flip sides that can cause them problems.
Screenwriter Blake Snyder spoke about his years in Hollywood. His book, SAVE THE CAT, is a must read for writers, and I hope to get it soon.
Blake encouraged us to capture the concept of our story in one sentence. He said the pitch is the verbal telling of the story.
The log line is the one or two line description of the story, limited to 25 words, that needs four things:
●A type of protagonist
●A type of antagonist
●An open ended questions, such as, “What will happen?”
Blake talked about his 15-point structure, which can be downloaded from his Web site.
In the books he’s sees, the hero’s problems aren’t bad enough and/or the character doesn’t hurt enough. Make it bad at the onset, he suggested.
Wendy Corsi Straub writes twelve hours a day for the four to six weeks when she pens a book. Then she takes a few weeks off and starts again. She knows, if she’s bored writing, the reader will be too. Don’t have stock characters, she warned. Make them do the opposite of what’s expected. She has her own social community we’re all invited to join at wendycorsistraub.com. Just like Maass, Wendy said don’t start the book in a car, train or plane. Start at the destination and let the story flow from there.
RWA is always an exciting week packed great workshops and lots of events. The highlight is seeing old friends and meeting new ones. This year, as always, I came back enthused and ready to work.
Everyone was thrilled when Linda Goodnight won her RITA!!! The photo above shows the Steeple Hill authors after the awards ceremony.
Good news! My second book, SCARED TO DEATH is a finalist in the Georgia Romance Writer’s Maggie Award of Excellence. Congratulations to all the finalists. Hope to see you at the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference this October in Atlanta.
I’m blogging on www.seekerville.blogspot.com today and talking about The Write Way to publication. Stop by and say hello!
Wishing you abundant blessings!
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