Monday, May 9, 2011

Tidbits on writing

I continue to decompress from the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference. I don't want to be a broken record, but I want to share a few final tidbits from workshops I attended.

Debra Dixon, president of Belle Books, used a cough drop and $10 to show Goal, Motivation and Conflict. She asked for volunteers, then offered a cough drop and added $10 to the pot. With three volunteers, she threw the cough drop in the air. Imagine a bride throwing a bouquet at a wedding. Conflict was minimal, but one person dove toward the floor to claim the cough drop and the $10.

Dixon talked primarily to mass market commercial fiction, but I took notes with the idea of how to apply this to my memoir in progress. She has a whole book on Goal Motivation and Conflict. It can be purchased at her website.

Her primary example of GMC came from the Wizard of Oz. Dixon recommended breaking down movies for their GMC and reading scriptwriting books.

At a lunch, I heard author Beth Kendrick speak. I listened. I laughed. I learned. I didn't take notes, but I understood her point about housekeeping. Sometimes, it doesn't get done.

Andrea Brown of Andrea Brown Literary Agency Inc. talked about query letters in one session. I think she said they were like skirts, "long enough to cover everything and short enough to keep it interesting." This was a packed session and I was in the backed into a corner — no exaggeration.

On the issue of noting that this is a multiple query in a letter, Brown said she took that as a sign of professionalism and you are taking your career seriously. She said when her agency signs on a client, they look at a five-year plan. She emphasized publishing is a business.

"Don't give up. Persistence pays off," Brown said.

A neat feature of the conference included a final lunch where you could meet with people in critique groups, professional organizations or discuss a variety of topics such as web design or editing services. I sat at the ebooks table with Barbara O'Neal. I continue to be amazed at how electronic readers have made out of print books available again and how first-time authors are going this route instead of seeking a traditional publisher.


  1. The diving to the floor to score the $10? That was me.

    I refer to my winnings as my first writing-related earnings. :)

  2. And, it was a graceful dive, too. Thanks for making the point memorable.


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