Some of you have asked for me to share about my experience last week. I will try to sum it up for you the best I can. I know not all of you are dreaming about being a writer, so I don’t want to bore you with too much detail.
In one word, it was “Amazing!” Think about a passion you have and then imagine having the privilege to learn from someone who is at the top of the field.
Writing Conferences are popular and held in various places around the US. Typically they are large gatherings of different agents and editors representing several publishers that you can meet. You also have a variety of classes you can choose from to help you with your writing.
The conference I attended last week was small and Karen Kingsbury, NY Times best selling novelist, was the only teacher. She shared with us her experience of writing and all that she has learned over her 20 plus years of writing.
It was intensive, for it was long days of hearing so much information. What made it so special though, was the way she taught it.
Karen Kingsbury is not only a best selling author but a wonderful woman. This wasn’t only an informative conference. She taught from the heart.
Her passion for writing was evident as well as her sincerity in wanting us to succeed. She talked to you as if you were a good friend of hers.
In between her teaching she listened to each of the 120 attendees give a synopsis of their manuscript and she gave her feedback. That alone was a priceless part of the conference.
By attending the conference we have the opportunity to submit our manuscript to Simon&Schuster, her publisher. They do not typically take unsolicited manuscripts! It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.
We were at tables of 10 and it was fun interacting with those who shared your passion.
There were people from all over the US, for she is so popular. At my table alone were people from California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
I will share a few examples that Karen gave of things writers typically do, which they shouldn’t do. Not that they can’t, but she showed a better way to get the same point across.
I will admit that I have done these things with the stories on my blog. Now that I am telling all of you I may be more quick to avoid them! I know what good eyes some of my readers have. 🙂
“He said”, “She said”, “He replied”, “She asked,” are all examples of phrases that are not needed. Which of the following examples sounds better to you.
Example A : “Sami rushed up to the table, breathless, “Arnie, I’m sorry,” she said.
“I was beginning to wonder,” he replied, “You’re never late.”
Example B : “Sami rushed up to the table, breathless. “Arnie, I’m sorry.” She kissed his cheek and took the chair across from him.
“I was beginning to wonder.” His eyes held a hint of disdain. “You’re never late.”
You could hear the groans from around the table as people did a quick word search for the word “said”, in their manuscript and realizing many times the word was used.
Don’t overuse details, the reader wants to get to the meat of your story. If your book isn’t a poetry book don’t use 4 paragraphs to describe the ripples in the water.
Don’t use adverbs too much. You want your reader to feel the emotion not just to tell them.
Which sentence makes you feel more?
“She ran quickly into the room.” or “She ran into the room, her steps keeping time with her heart.”
I could go on and on. Things that aren’t earth shattering but when seeing them pointed out you do realize the difference.
Most importantly use your own voice when writing. You want your writing to reflect your personality, don’t try to sound like someone else.
Whether Simon&Schuster accepts my manuscript or not I feel that the conference was beneficial!
I love to write and will always write, no matter what. Learning things that can help me excel at my passion is a plus, whether it helps me with my next blog post or with my next book.