Vital Information

As promised in the last post, I’d like to impart some of the wisdom I soaked up at the Writers’ Conference in Dallas. I’ll probably take
several posts, and then just barely brush the surface.

Keynote speaker James Scott Bell shared this nugget: “Say something passionately with excellent craft skills.” It pretty much sums up what I’ve heard from so many others, but it still rings true. A great story that’s written poorly won’t sell. Fabulous prose wrapped around a ho-hum plot won’t sell. Mr. Bell also instructed us to produce words every day, to make a daily writing quota and stick to it. Again, I’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating. I find myself going weeks on end without producing a single word. I’ve spent my time reading other writers, or researching, or jotting down character sketches… I feel so busy, but in the end, I don’t have any written words to show for my time. Excellent advice.

Colleen Coble taught a series on Mystery and Suspense. She suggested writers outline their entire book from the POV of the antagonist. This will give us a much better understand of the villain’s motivations and highlight any major motivation problems that ordinarily we wouldn’t see. I found this approach ingenious, and amended her idea to include ALL major characters. I found more than one weak motivation after completing the exercise.

That’s it for today. Next time, I’ll discuss the highlight of the conference (for me): John Olson’s Sci-fi/Fantasy Course.



One thought on “Vital Information

  1. Glad you’re carrying through, my dear! And that little tidbit about looking at the story through your villain’s eyes came from Donald Maass. I thought I told you all to do to all the characters but maybe not. Anyway, good going! I’m proud!

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