Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2015 Day Two

Friday, bright an early, found me getting coffee and connecting with some of the people floating around early and getting checked in. Then it was off to get learned in all things writing.

 

The first session of the day was Less is More: Cogent Fiction Writing with Dana Isaacson.

 

All in all, a great session. Was basically editing, but not really in a standard way of seeing it. It was very informative on how to make sure that when you’re writing you do it in as few words as possible. A few tidbits:

  • All writing is editing.
  • Focus on the action.
  • The necessary cuts aren’t obvious – just the sin of too many words. It’s laborious and time consuming.
  • “There’s no author easier to work with then a dead one.” – Dana Isaacson before jumping into us editing old works.
  • You need to read a piece of work multiple time to see what needs to be cut. The obvious ones stand out first, the hard ones may take time.
  • Edit in different ways – hard copy and digitally.
  • Make sure you always keep the voice of a piece when cutting pieces. Don’t make cuts that sacrifice your voice.

 

The next session was One Moment in Time: Writing Scenes with Cara Lopez Lee. The topic of this was pretty obvious but there were some great tidbits:

  • “The moment you think your characters can’t stand the heat … keep them in the kitchen!” – Cara Lopez Lee
  • A lot of buildup can be cut in half or to a couple of sentences because the build up is not necessarily as important as the moment of crisis. We don’t need as much as we think of the buildup, we need the event. The reader needs to see everything.
  • Pause over sensation, use your senses and feelings.
  • “When I started out I wanted to be an actress. Because that’s easy. Then I wanted to be a writer because that’s easier.” – Cara Lopez Lee (sarcasm).
  • You get more emotions when you spend more time.
  • Use all your senses.
  • Think in dream-space, you can slow things down. Don’t turn them into dreams, but keep the quality.
  • Stick through the tension.

 

This was a session full of information and made fun by the presenter.

 

Next off we went to Writing Combat in Science Fiction with Kevin Ikenberry. He was a great presenter, a lot of fun. I don’t write science fiction but I do plan to have more and more conflict in my stories and was hoping to get some ideas from this session. Here are some of the things I took away:

  • A plan never survives enemy contact. You can’t plan an attack to cover all possible scenarios.
  • There are different levels of conflict – strategic (on the largest scale), operational (narrowed down to a specific area) and tactical(narrowed even further to a specific group/team). You cannot jump between these levels in a single scene without really confusing your readers.
  • Things should not go perfectly for your character, the enemy is not going to do what you expect.
  • There is no such thing as a fair fight.
  • Research is important. Know your weapons and how they work.
  • Choose your details: There are some things your readers need to know, but some details can be left to imagination.

 

There was a lot of good information, stuff I’ll be able to use in the long run. Not sure it was exactly what I was expecting, but it gave me something I needed none-the-less.

 

Next off we have Snapping Pictures With Words: The Art of Description with Angie Hodapp. Obviously a class on description, but it was a lot of great information and a lot of fun:

  • Descriptions awaken imagination and evoke emotion. They convey tone and atmosphere.
  • People – and thus characters – describe things differently. Look into the way a character describes things. Don’t change that voice of your character, don’t have them describe things in different ways.
  • Let your reader live in the moment.
  • Descriptions can describe both character and plot.

 

There was a lot of information here and different things to practice with. There are a lot of amazing people that go to PPWC.

 

Next up was Foundations of a Freelance Career with Josh Vogt. There was a lot of information there on how to create portfolios, professionalism, where to find jobs and pitching yourself. He talked about different resources and pay rates as well. There was a lot of information and I wish I had the drive, and time, to do freelancing.

 

That was the last class of the day. We had both the welcome speech during lunch and our first keynote speaker at dinner. It was a great day.

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