The day started off earlier. More socializing at very early hours and talking to old friends and new.
Then we jumped into our first session of the day Exploding Plot Points with Alex Kourvo. This was a great session, even as early as it was, because there were a lot of great friends in that session. And Alex is a friend from previous conferences.
This session also had a bunch of us from Twitter in there and we all kept joking about how we were quoting many of the same earworms given during that session.
I’ve actually taken a lot of Alex’s ideas and turned them into a process for me to use with my plotting. I have a post planned on my plotting craziness that will talk about it there as well. The biggest thing I took away from this session was Alex’s idea of the five major scenes:
- The hook – opening pages that draws us into the action and drama right away. Must be action, no back story.
- Doorway of no return – early in the novel where the main character makes a decision they can’t turn back from.
- Midpoint – in the middle and gives a major reversal. This is usually an external conflict that changes things up.
- Dark moment (all is lost moment) – about 3/4 of the way through the story where the character is at the lowest low and has no clue how to get themselves out.
- Climax – everything comes together.
A lot of great information and examples.
Next off we had another session with Josh Vogt called Constructing Your SciFi or Fantasy Novel. A great session on world building. A lot of great information here. He gave a great worksheet for world building that I plan to use in the future.
After that we went onto a great session called Writing the Strong Female Protagonist with Barbara O’Neal. Here are some of the pointers I got there:
- Girls and boys are different and you need to address them differently.
- Avoid victim mentality.
- Everyone has something that shames them and the scars that life has given them.
- The world is approached differently by men and women – understand that and use it to your advantage in your writing.
- Women are judgmental and this starts big at puberty.
- Everyone has quirks and habits – use them.
A lot of great ideas here on how to use the differences between men and women to your advantage in writing.
Next up was a session on dialogue called Talk the Talk by Margaret Bail. Here’s what I took away from the session:
- You can get characterization and voice from dialogue. It reveals relationships and can create tension.
- Necessary dialogue only – get in late, get out early.
- Listen to actual conversations to understand how people talk. Understand that people uses contractions and silence to express themselves.
- Keep tags simple.
The last session was one done by a Keynote Speaker Seanan Mcguire called Part of a Balanced Breakfast: Serials, Series and Keeping them From Getting Stale. These are the kinds of things I got from it.
Here she talked about the different type of stories that you can run into:
- Duology – a pair of books with the same story being continued from one to the other.
- Trilogy – A journey through three books with a good final ending.
- Series – Several books with a continued major story and mini stories in each book.
She taught us that different markets ask for different types of set ups. She also taught us that you need to make sure you keep some kind of “bible” to keep track of characters, scenes, settings and everything else.
There was a discussion on momentum and keeping it fresh no matter how many books there are.
Keynotes were wonderful that day as well – sorry I don’t have many details for them, I enjoyed the time and the experiences. I remember old friends and new.