The Conference!

A lot has happened since my last entry. Namely, the FWA Conference was last weekend in Orlando. I am so grateful that I chose to attend for the second year in a row. Every workshop was excellent. The FWA consistently chooses fantastic speakers and authors to come teach the sessions. I couldn’t pick a favorite if I had to, but I’ll mention a few.

The very first workshop I attended provided answers to questions about synopses that I’ve had for years. For those who wanted to bring a laptop with their current novel and its working synopsis, the speakers (Robert & Sharene Brown) went over several different types of synopses and showed us how to transform our novel into each of these. I got some one on one time with Sharene (a publisher) and she had such insight! Now, whenever the guidelines for submissions to an agent or publisher request any type of synopsis, I’ll have it ready.

Another excellent workshop was on Point of View with Rebecca Melvin. She is an author and the owner of a Christian publishing company called Double-Edge Press. I learned things I had never known about POV. For my fantasy novel in particular, I have struggled with POV and how to appropriately transition to another POV without throwing the reader out of the novel.

Lastly, I must mention Margie Lawson. I cannot recall her many credentials—I believe she has multiple degrees. Her workshop primarily focused on dialogue cues and body language in writing. I learned so much from her session about avoiding clich├ęs and finding fresh ways to show characters to the reader without telling. For example, notice how the following does nothing for the reader.

“I don’t want to do that,” he said angrily. Shelly felt scared.

The dialogue cue doesn’t show the reader the character’s anger. The reader cannot feel the woman’s fear.

Another example:

“I don’t want to do that,” he said with steam pouring out of his flared nostrils. Shelly felt like she was standing in front of the bulls in Pamplona as they thrust against the gates ready to trample people in the streets.

Telling versus showing makes a big difference. Thank you, Margie!

Needless to say, I’m overflowing with new insights and good tips. I’m ready to keep on writing.