Rainy Days, Writing Workshops, Fairytales, Fashion, and Book Things

Waiting for a WinchesterI’m a big fan of rainy days, especially on weekends when I’ve got nothing planned. Today’s “nothing planned” consisted of attending the LSFW monthly meeting – a rare treat – consuming a nice soupy lunch in front of an episode of Supernatural, and sitting down to write stuff. Afterwards, I’ll continue to read “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes and then catch up on The Walking Dead – 2 more episodes to go! Glad I’m not a nail-biter because yeah, they’d be obliterated by now.

Nothing but good things to say about this year’s Create Something Magical conference. This past March would make it my second year attending. I met some very cool writers, both published and aspiring, and learned a great deal more about the industry. Some of the workshops I attended were:

SCENE AND SEQUEL – The freaking amazing speaker / published author explored the importance of scenes and their relevance within the whole body of your work. Why have it if it doesn’t drive the story forward? Why have it if it’s not significant? Avoid floaters. Avoid the door that leads to nowhere. All great advice from a dynamic author that made it such a lively, funny, informational session.

WRITING ACTIVE PROSE – This very successful (not to mention super hardworking) author gave us examples of passive writing and how to fix it. She emphasized the significance of immediacy in every paragraph and element of the story. We discussed how to clean up and make scenes better and more engaging. I will never not need this kind of lesson.

THE ULTIMATE SUBMISSION – Two lovely ladies, both successful, published authors as well as experts at the query process (query, synopsis, submission, etc.) gave tips on how to present your book. They provided very good insight and advice on how to structure and plan the synopsis (I hate these) and a better idea of how to catch and keep an agent or editors attention with your material. Coincidentally, I’d attended this workshop right after my pitch sessions, so I devoured every word and took copious notes.

DIVERSITY IN ROMANCE – This might have been one of my favorite workshops. The panel of… well, diverse authors was extremely interesting, dynamic, funny, insightful, and highly logical. How do you write a character of different background than you? Well, how would you write a character? They highlighted the importance of personality and humanity as well as concepts of similar experience and human reaction to scenes and stimuli. It’s not a matter of neglecting the differences; rather, it’s the idea of exploring different characters as they would see and react in a world of different experiences. It was about connecting to others and the world instead of alienating yourself because of fear or nervousness.

I wrote about my pitch sessions experience at the writing conference in my previous post if you’re interested in reading about it. I also started a little section of extremely short stories or scenes that have nothing to do with my novels but are just good fun and great writing practice. You can find the first installment HERE.

Little Red Fashion

Fairytale Fashion (Museum at FIT) and Edgar Degas (MoMa) – I am a huge fan of fairytales and mythology, so when a good friend asked me to join her in visiting this exhibit, I was like, “Hold up. Let me get my calendar!” We made our way through rich fabrics, striking colors, old stories, diverse retellings, and a beautiful hall of clothing. We discussed the fairytales and implications of each story and how the colors, cuts, and texture of the costumes and chosen fabrics indeed reflected dreamy, sometimes dark, tales of people and history as told through metaphor and imagination. I loved it!

Degas Dancers

Afterwards, we traveled to the Museum of Modern Art to visit the Degas exhibit. I’ve always admired his Dancers, and this was an opportunity to explore his other works. That day it occurred to me that Edgar Degas was one of my favorite artists because I imagine his pieces as illustrations for stories. He creates people as he sees them, nothing super abstract, just as is, and as is through Degas’s eyes is enchanting.

I think that’s it for my babble today. This month I’m trying out an Instagram book photo a day challenge under the hashtag “LilBookishApril” and having a lot of fun doing it. So far so good, but we’ll see if I can keep it up. The month is still young!

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