Last weekend, this weekend…
April 16, 2011 § 10 Comments
Last weekend, I was at the Missouri Writers Guild Annual Conference for 2.5 days. Of bliss. And information. And ideas.
And coming to grips with writing.
This morning, I’m a the kitchen table, the wind is blowing meanly just on the other side of the paned glass doors and the dogs are tapping nervously, wondering about their walk.
Wow. It’s easier to be attending a writing conference than it is to be at your desk, writing.
It’s easier to be writing a blog entry than it is to be doing your “required” writing.
Anyway, prior to grabbing coffee and really writing, here are a few things observed from last week’s conference.
1) Take your writing and twist it. Sure you can use 8 words in a paragraph and drop it in a box to see if your para wins out 175 entries. But you’d better do something special with it. Because surprisingly, a lot of people will have the same idea if the words are “tropical, gargantuan, lackluster,” etc. Yup, tons of people came up with a tiki hut on a beach and gargantuan drinks. One guy was a re-incarnated fruit in a tropical fruit salad. He won the contest.
So take your story idea, your poem, your song, your whatever and put on a twist on it.
2) A lot of editors – from books to magazine types- require query/cover letters. Take the time to write a straight clean simple one and use the guidelines on the internet OR in the publication to which you’re applying. Please do not waste time at conferences asking questions over and over about queries.
3) There is a glut of YA lit starring teenage girls. Editors are looking for YA from a teenage boy’s point of view. Likely this will create the next “glut.” But still…it’s worth a shot to shift main character to male gender if you’re writing YA. (Yeah, Diary of a Wimpy Kid already has that underway, but apparently, the editors want more… ah, “writing” and “trend” – gives you chills, doesn’t it?)
4) You’re a writer. Get a business card. It’s a business, a profession, not a hobby. It’s good to show you take it seriously. You may find you don’t like the one you have once you get to the conference but DON’T worry about it. Pass them out. Exchange them. Use them.
5)Investigate independent presses for publishing your manuscript. Publishing is turning many corners. Seize the day. Better yet, get a friend to do it for you. You are busy writing. Catherine Rankovic, published writer & poet as well as a book evaluator also suggests putting together your own chapbooks. Yup, make them by hand, even. She’s onto something, but that’s for another blog. I’m thinking of asking Jeanie…? She’ll have cool ideas…
6) Get a First Reader, a reading buddy. A first read friend. Maybe it shouldn’t be your BFF unless he/she is an excellent reader. This person reads BEFORE you let your ms go out there to any agent/etc. Someone who understands good writing, a good story, a good article. (drat, I need to do this myself. In terms of articles, however, it means getting them done long before deadline so there’s time to give it to the First Reader.) Keep in mind this First Reader should likely be paid. Then you are both invested in the writing and you both “win.” A lot of people like/join critique groups. And that’s a great thing. (personally, I find they get off track and meetings head into other conversational topics and then get sidetracked with refreshments.)
(little gargoyles from Nor that hold the page (in jrnl) and keep me at the desk, except for when I must…get…coffee!)