Friday, September 21, 2012

Barbie's Bunkhouse: What's in a Workshop?

Workshops. When you're new to writing, you can't get enough of them. You're like a sponge, soaking in all of the tricks and tips and educating yourself on putting the power in your own writing so you will be the next best seller.

I remember my very first writing conference (NEC). I went to every workshop I could and took notes like a crazy person. To me, this conference was the confirmation I needed that I was destined to be a writer and that my stories were good enough to be told. When I came back to this conference the very next year, I received my first ever request for a full from an editor at Harlequin. THAT was the best feeling in the world. Although I didn't end up selling to Harlequin, I received excellent feedback and continued to write and come up with ideas to polish and pitch. And one year after that, at a different conference (NJRWA) I received a request and 2 months later I had an agent!

But back to workshops. I think they are so helpful not only to beginning writers, but to seasoned authors as well. We all get stuck from time to time, and it's refreshing to see what new plotting ideas or ways to develop characters are out there. Sometimes we need to spice things up. It's great when you can hone in on something that will help develop your weak points as an author.

Me, I like characterization workshops. This is my weakness. I get comments that readers love my characters - little do they know how much work went into those pages!! I have a tendency to see my characters a certain way, and it takes many passes to show them clearly on paper. I'm fine with their dialogue, and of course their physical details. It's keeping their actions consistent with who they are that throws me every time. One of these days I will get it right the first time (okay, maybe by the third).

Plotting is always interesting. I consider myself a decent plotter, although I'm getting into deeper and bigger plots so I'm going to have to start really paying attention and probably become a spread sheet queen, like I know so many authors have to do to keep it all straight.

I still enjoy going to workshops. I like to go if they are being given by author friends, just to support them and see how they format their workshops. And I'm branching out to different workshops about marketing, branding...all those "next step" ones, because once you've really worked your craft there's always room for improvement, but there's more to learn as well.

What kinds of workshops do you all enjoy? Anyone ever present a workshop? And for any followers who are beginning writers or maybe just readers.... what kinds of workshops would you be interested in attending? I've been asked to give a workshop at a local library, and welcome any ideas. :-)

Have a great weekend everyone! It's starting to feel like football weather..FINALLY!!!

1 comment:

Anita Clenney said...

Barbie, workshops were really helpful to me early on, and as you say, even now they can still benefit. Hearing the same thing again will often job my memory and I'll realize that I've gotten lazy.