Thursday, March 22, 2012

Writing for Charity

Friday afternoon, Robyn (my thirteen-year-old writer) talked me into taking her to Writing for Charity. We'd been talking about it for a weeks without coming to a decision. So, yeah, I dropped Dax and Gwen off at my sister's, and we drove and drove and drove until midnight (when we reached my other sister's house in Pleasant Grove).

Too early the next morning, we headed for the Provo library. :o)

The event started with an impressive author panel. You can click here to find the whole list of authors that attended. Shannon Hale always seems to end up with the mic at these kind of things. She's hilarious. And she can stop the long-winded ones without offending anyone. "Novelists, keep your answers to a paragraph. Picture books authors already have this down." Heheheh. Some of my favorite tidbits from the panel:

1. Brandon Sanderson wrote 13 first drafts before he sold ELANTRIS.
2. You have not yet written your best work. Keep writing.  ~Tracy Hickman
3. Matthew J. Kirby doesn't outline. *grins at CPs*
4. Shannon Hale sets goals of 1,000 words/day or 20 pages of revison.
5. Mette Ivie Harrison sets time goals (2 hours).

Then we split into critique groups with our author of choice (Matthew J. Kirby). There were only seven people in our group, and we had two hours, so we had lots of time to discuss the beginning pages we brought and our manuscripts in general. This was my favorite part. His suggestions just felt right. And when he was asking if I'd tried to sell it yet (I haven't), he said something about reaching a point where there's not much difference between a published and an unpublished writer. They do the same things. And that felt right too.

Robyn chose the workshops we attended: The Psychology of Characterization (Jennifer Nielsen), Rewriting the Crap Out of It (Dean and Shannon Hale), Fantasy Panel (Mette Ivie Harrison, Laura and Tracy Hickman, Dene Low, and Brandon Sanderson), and The Do's and Don'ts of Dialogue (Janette Ralison). I learned something new in each of them. Many of the authors have websites where they go into the same things they covered, so if you're interested, click on their names. I just wish we could have fit Brandon Sanderson's workshop on Advanced Plot Structure in there somewhere.

If you live in (or close to) Utah, this is an amazing event. It cost $45 for the whole day (including lunch and a snack) because the writer's all volunteer their time. The money always goes to some kind of charity. I spent more on gas money than I did on registration for the event, but then I spent more on books than I did on gas money.

We came home with a lot of notes and an unwieldy stack of signed books (Happy 100%).

Also, we learned about a new series that's being written by multiple authors. Have any of you heard of THE INFINITY RING series? The first one is by James Dashner. It sounds like fun. :o)

14 comments:

  1. How cool that your daughter shares that interest with you. I would love that!

    =)

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  2. I so wish I could have gone with you guys! You want to go back next year with me? :)

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  3. This sounds completely amazing! And all for $45??? Wow!

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    1. $45. Crazy, huh? And they do it every year.

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  4. No wonder I didn't see you! I wasn't in any of those classes. I'm so glad that your critique went so well.

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    1. Thanks! It sounds like you had a great time too!

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  5. Thanks for commenting on my shiny new blog. I'll do my best to keep up with yours.

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    1. You're welcome! And if you don't, it's okay. I understand being busy.

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  6. Sounds like a fun and informative event. Love that you did it on the spur of the moment. :)

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    1. Yeah. I don't get to be spontaneous like that very often. It was great. :o)

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  7. "Picture book authors already have this down." Ahaha! Great line.

    Wow, Myrna! So glad you got to attend such a terrific event. And it benefits charity too. Wish they had one of these in PA.

    And yes, I've heard of The Infinity Ring. It's time travel and in the first one they go back to 1492. That's all I know. Scholastic just keeps coming up with these wildly-popular series, like 39 Clues and Hunger Games and Harry Potter...

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  8. I'm not surprised you've heard of it. You always hear about the interesting ones before anyone else. Must be a bookseller thing. :o)

    I bet if a few of you organized the event for a great cause and invited local authors to participate, some of them would. That's how it came together in Utah.

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