First – Let me apologize for the lateness of this and the other posts following. Life got in the way of getting these posted, despite the fact that these were mostly written before but never scheduled because of life. But let’s get going on the actual post!
PPWC 2015 was the first year of me live tweeting during conference. I made sure to bring my shiny new toy and 2015 was the year of me figuring out how to actually learning how to log in to the hotel Wi-Fi so I could both take notes and share the awesome things I learned during my workshops.
I talked in March before the conference what my choices were for the prequel sessions (morning and afternoon). Here are some of the things I learned from the sessions:
Author 101 with Angel Smits and Robert Spiller.
This was a wonderful session filled with information about things that you should do to get yourself out there as an author, as well as some suggestions when it comes to actually writing.
- Contests are a great way to set goals for yourself and get yourself out there. You can also offer to judge so you can connect with other writers.
- When you finish a piece of work, get it to the best quality you can and move on. Don’t sit stagnant.
- Make sure you love the story you’re writing. If you don’t then no one else will.
- Find time to devote to writing, as well as a space to do it in. Make the commitment. Make sure others know about it and don’t interrupt it. Plan around it.
- Never throw anything away. When things are edited out, save them. You never know when a good scene may not work for one book but will work for another.
- Join organizations – Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators or others that fit your choice genres.
- Critique Groups are Gold! (more about this in a moment)
- When submitting work, make sure the work in clean and finished. Follow submission guidelines. Make your query unique to the scenario.
Now, one thing that both Bob and Angel spent a lot of time on is critique groups. Here are some of the things they had to say:
- You can form groups in different ways: in person or long distance. You need to find a set up that works for you.
- Don’t allow the group to write the book for you. Take ideas and suggestions that are given to you and consider then. You are the writer of your story and know it better than anyone else.
- A good group will help you find balance in your work.
- Learn to judge your critique partners. Everyone has different opinions and different likes. If one person makes a comment, take it with a grain of salt. If multiple make the same comment, look a little deeper.
- Make sure the group understands what you are trying to gain from their criticism, that way they can get you to where you’re going.
- Know how much time you can and are willing to devote to the group. If you find yourself in a group that needs a lot of time, but you don’t have it, then it may not be the group for you.
It was a long and informative session. There was lots of laughing and a great amount of fun!
Also, here are some wonderful quotes. Some of which I shared on Twitter and some that were too long to be shared.
“Never stop learning your craft. I’ve gone to a conference and seen Nora Roberts sitting in a workshop. Do you think Nora needs to learn craft?” – Angel Smits
“We write so hearts will break.” – Robert Spiller
“Allow yourself to have your doubts. But don’t let it define what you do.” – Angel Smits
“Network with people, just do it! Make connections!” – Robert Spiller
Since this ended up longer then I thought, we’ll go over the afternoon session in the next post!