First up was Scene of the Crime by Geoff Symon. A former Federal forensic investigator, Geoff gave us the run down on crime scenes and discussed a few of the more famous crime scene investigations. Check out his website!
Next up; The Line Between Good and Evil offered by Janice Gabie Bashman & Katherine Craft. This covered the POV character and how its the first relate-able thing to the reader. We also talked about the anti-hero or tormented villain.
While I was absorbing Scene of the Crime by writer friend went to one called; Draw Me a Story presented by Shiloh Walker. She snagged me a hand out. This covered Character Sketches and applying them to the plot of the story. What does your character want and what obstacles/conflicts are you going to put in their path?
From there we went to World Building presented by a panel that included Christi Barth, Stephanie Draven, Eliza Knight, Lea Nolan, and Kate Quinn. It was an interesting talk about in-bedding details about the world/town/culture and avoiding info dumps. They gave us the "sins" of world building
- Info dumps (better to layer)
- Glossary - depending on how detailed and different your world
- Obsessing over details
- Forgetting aspects as you build your story. Don't let one aspect change another's facts
- Over reliance of dialog to impart details. Character saying things like, "As you know on planet X..."
One great tip of world building if you're writing a series; Make a series bible so you can keep track of the towns, houses, character jobs, etc.
From there we had lunch with speaker Sylvia Day. She was a very inspiring author and gave us all her blunders and successes on the road to being a full time writer. One thing she did say was, follow your heart. When they tell you can't, don't listen.
Raiders of the Lost Arcs was up next covering Structural Elements that create a story arc. Katheryn Craft was the presenter. This covered everything: the premise, inciting incident, motivation, high stakes for failure, complications through to the dark moment and climax. And of course, the resolution.
From there I went to Marketing with Review Blogs with Joyfully Jay, Francesca Bensi, and Susan Lee. This was great insight into the other side of the review blogs and how they chose books to review, who does the reviews, and how to find the right ones. Basically, search blog tours or book review blogs and see if they did your kind of book. They said some of the most successful author interviews are the ones that do giveaways of books or gift cards. They talked about Good Reads for reviews, too.
The last seminar for Saturday was 5 Things to Start Doing Before You Get a Book Deal! The speaker was Donna Galanti and she was one of my favorite speakers of the day.
- Connect with readers through book bloggers. She covered Google Alerts for your genre. Set the alert and find out where other authors are putting their books. Invite other authors to your blog to get traffic before you launch your book.
- ID your reader and market. Does your book appeal to a certain group? Teens, mountain climbers, vegetarians? Find the groups on Twitter and engage in conversation.
- Find 2 or 3 places to master on social media. Search for online reviewers, if you want an agent or publisher -follow them. (www.literaryrambles.com)
- Promote others. Heartwarming or humorous posts get the most engagement. Find/follow pages that relate to your genre. (www.aerogrammestudio.com/2013/04/21/twitter-hashtags-for-writers/)
- Blog, Engage, and Run Contests (Rafflecopter)
- Join writer organizations & volunteer
If you want the handout on this one email me and I'll send you a copy. She gives several good websites for marketing information.
And that was my Saturday. Sunday was a short day. Three seminars; Beyond Spell Check; Self editing before submission, Tying it all Together, and The In the Know, How to Guide to Self Publishing.
It was a great weekend with a lot of good information. Can't wait for next year!