Going to a Conference!

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New York City Skyline Wallpapers

I am going to the Writers Digest Conference in New York City this weekend, and I am very excited about it. This is one of the largest writers’ conferences in North America, and it will be the second time I have attended.

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http://www.clipartpanda.com

When I went last year, I had no real idea of what to expect. Of course, I had done research, but a writers’ conference, especially one this large, is significantly different from academic conferences I had attended.

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http://www.murkworks.net/

This year I will be there with my pitch for my horror novel Evil Lives After prepared, and with specific expectations of what I will try to gain and learn. One specific quality of this event that I realized last year is that every session is valuable. I intend to gather as much information as possible about writing and publishing as I can.

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The main focus for me, as I am sure it will be with many other writers, is the agent pitch slam, a kind of speed dating or elevator pitch session with agents, in which each writer has a 3 minute time span to greet the agent, pitch the novel, and answer questions. I have done my research and planning and know which agents I will try to pitch first. I will let you know how that turns out.

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I have to mention that I am staying with my wonderful and gracious in-laws, whom I love as my own parents. A big thank you to them!  They have a house on Staten Island, and I will make the commute on the ferry—and I love riding the ferry!—and then take the subway to Grand Central Terminal, which is only a couple of blocks from my destination.

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Another Successful Meeting of the Grounds for Thought Literary Group!

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We had a very successful meeting of the Grounds For Thought Literary Group at the Taylor Roasted CoffeeHouse in Northampton, PA on Saturday night. I had expected a small group of only about 5 people to attend because it was a warm, bright, and dry early summer evening. Additionally, there were several local events that competed for people.

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image from: just a girl and her camera  (thanks Liz!)

What actually happened, however, was very different and a delightful surprise. Very quickly the main room of the coffee house filled, and with my count, fifteen people were in attendance. It was a full meeting, with all of the two hours taken up with readings from numerous people. I began with a chapter from my horror novel Evil Lives After, and then we heard from a variety of people. It is my policy, because this is a public blog, never to identify anyone’s name. That is not my place to give someone’s identity here. I will say, however, that a young lady who has been attending our meetings decided to read for the first time—you know who you are—and it was wonderful. She read her first chapter of the first draft of a novel she is writing. She is talented, and the audience was engaged by the story. Great work to you!

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It is always encouraging to see a disparate group of writers and listeners come together for an evening of shared writings and readings. I am deeply grateful to be a part of this gathering.

Once again, I want to mention the fine quality of the coffee house. If anyone is ever traveling in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, be sure to make a visit to Taylor Roasted CoffeeHouse in Northampton, Pa.
http://taylorroastedcoffeehouse.com/

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Drafts, Revisions, and Plans, Oh MY!

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I finished the first draft of a novel I have been working on the first part of the year. While it is very rough and in need of a great deal of work, it is time to put it aside for a while. I am not sure what my overall goals for this novel are, but at least I have completed the initial draft. So, I need to continue with the overall writing plan I put in place a while ago, one which I was not sure I would be able to maintain. So far, I have done it.

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This writing plan is to draft, as first drafts, two books per year. In addition to the drafting, I am also constantly working on revising previous books. I focus on one at a time, or at least I try to. My writing time is divided into drafting first, and then I work on revising. I have found that I am able to do this about 5 days a week.

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I had mentioned in an earlier post that I am also working on an academic book, but that is moving very slowly as I try to find necessary materials without which , it cannot move forward.  My drafting goal for the rest of the year, therefore, is to complete a first draft of a horror novel. It is a story I have had in mind for quite a while. In fact, the idea for it came from a dream I had, in which, in very cinematic fashion, I saw the entire ending of the story. It was like seeing a movie for free!

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My long range goal for this horror novel is to test the self-publishing waters with it. I still intend to try to be published traditionally, especially with my first two novels, but I decided it was time to spread out this writing venture and see what happens. That long range plan for the book will be to self-publish it sometime next year.

Let’s see how the carrying-out of my plan goes.

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Top 10 Writing Tips

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This is a useful collection of writing tips that I believe all authors should find valuable and interesting.

Lynette Noni

A few months ago I was asked by the Gold Coast Bulletin to come up with a list of writing tips that they could publish in their newspaper. I really wanted to include those tips in a blog post back then too, but the Bulletin asked me to wait until they’d published them first, which is fair enough. I’d pretty much forgotten about it, but this week my wonderful publicist tracked down the link for the whole article that they wrote up on me back in May in the aftermath of Supanova, which means I can now share my tips with you all!

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Feel free to share the above tips if you find them helpful at all. And if you want to read the whole article (it’s an entire page, which is so cool!), you can do so by clicking on this link to find a screenshot JPEG of it here: 

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What Book Would You Read?

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(https://pixabay.com)

One of my best memories from summers when I was a child was of those days when I didn’t have to do anything. Work had not yet reared its head, chores were finished, and the weather was just right. It wasn’t too hot, and the humidity was low. The sky was filled with imagination-inducing legions of clouds.  On such days, I remember sitting under a tree, leaning back against it and reading a book—all day, with the exception of going in for lunch and supper. They were perfect days.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Now, imagine something like that. For one day, you have no responsibilities, the weather is nice—75 degrees, almost no humidity, and a sky of bright blue and cumulus clouds like scattered cotton candy—and you have the time to indulge in reading a book. At your side is a container of coffee, iced tea, or whatever you like. You also have snacks with you.  Remember, for this day, you are free to relax and read, as if you were a child again.

If I were to do this right now, I think I would begin to reread The Lord of the Rings.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

My question is—what book would you read?

Lies, Denial & Buried Secrets—How to Create Dimensional Characters

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This is an excellent and useful post. Kristen Lamb always provides strong information for writers.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Zoetnet. Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Zoetnet.

As mentioned in a previous post, one of my all-time favorite series is True Detective. There is a line that’s repeated in the series and it is SO perfect for our purposes today.

Sometimes your worst self is your best self.

It’s tempting for us to create “perfect” protagonists and “pure evil” antagonists, but that’s the stuff of cartoons, not great fiction. Every strength has an array of corresponding weaknesses, and when we understand these soft spots, generating conflict becomes easier. Understanding character arc becomes simpler. Plotting will fall into place with far less effort.

All stories are character-driven. Plot merely serves to change characters from a lowly protagonist into a hero….kicking and screaming along the way. Plot provides the crucible. 

Plot is the push that drives the change. Without the plot problem, the protagonist is never forced to face weakness and…

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One Liner Challenge

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This in an interesting and fun challenge:  a create a story by adding one sentence to the previous writing task.

I have been nominated by Trish of Never Less Than Everything http://threehandsoneheart.com   Please visit this wonderful and informative site written by Trish and her son Ben.

Here we go:

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(From THOH)

It was a warm sunny day and sea was an almost transparent shade of blue.

I lay there, watching the waves lap on the shore, a drink in hand, a tear rolling down my cheek.

I stand up yelling at that boy who threw this load of sand into my eyes and my drink when he jumped over me.

I then grabbed my water gun, running fast after him, I was laughing, he was jumping over people to escape. He turned to look at me, but didn’t see the two children in front of him carrying two delicious looking ice cream cones.

As he barreled into the children, knocking the ice-cream from their grasp, I caught one of the scoops of pistachio and hurled it at his head as I fell laughing to the ground!

And what luck, his mouth was open and he gulped down the scoop, spitting nuts rapid-fire style like a rabid squirrel! And wouldn’t you know it, a squirrel leaped from a nearby tree, performing a flying maneuver worthy of the best traveling circus family, catching the nuts in his mouth in mid-air!!

It was all too fantastical and I wondered for a moment if I’d forgotten to take my medication earlier…or perhaps I took too much!

I opened my eyes with a jolt, peeled my face from the sticky plastic beach lounger, and rubbed my eyes-sun and too many mojitos make for ridiculous dreams!

Unaware to her, the man behind the one way mirror furiously scribbled down notes and couldn’t help but marvel at how his creation truly believed IT was a real human being and he hadn’t even begun stage 2984DU which everyone with his intellect knows is when the real fun starts!

Professor James Loxet knew he had just one more test to carry out before the implant of the 2984DU chip, Just one more social situation, the dinner party. The thought of going to this party, surrounded by so many people, just made James cringe to his core, he hated crowds of people! Yet, at the nagging of his close friends, James, picked himself up from the beach and headed home to change for the party. Despite his nagging headache and the gnaw of anxiety in his gut, James found a sort of peace in the ritual of dressing.

The party was a very formal affair, so James decided to put on his best black tuxedo.

The Rules:

1.) Write one line in the ongoing story.

2.) Pass the challenge on to the next victim/Nominee

3.) Link back to your nominator

4.) Link back to me, Waffles https://wafflemethis.wordpress.com/ if you could.  Please, this could be very interesting.

5.) Copy and paste all of the original story, and add your line in italics.

6.) If you decide you don’t want to take part, please send back to the nominator or Waffles https://wafflemethis.wordpress.com.  Either can then send this to a new person.

I nominate Yinglan A Simple Life https://yzhengblog.wordpress.com to be the next contributor.  Enjoy and have fun!