Friday, May 14

Pennwriter's Day One

Posted by Shelly Holder

My lips were chapped and burningly propelled me through the conference in search of relief. I also had coffee breath, and tried to avoid any contact within five feet of other attendees. For their own benefit.

So dry-lipped and sleep deprived, I navigated my way through maze-like hotel corridors and past clumps of women waiting for the restroom into ballroom- cum -classroom after classroom.

First on the agenda, travel writing. Informative, and thought-provoking after my finals-caused Serengeti of a brain. A few good tips, lengthy notes, a resource to follow up on, and the idea that full time travel writing might just be the career to pursue. Because, hello, who wouldn't want to get paid to travel?

Next, character motivation. At first I was hesitant, thinking "I know my characters!" but it was a good decision. First, the speaker was HILARIOUS. The entire class was in stiches the entire hour. And she used examples from the audience's WIP to illustrate her points, which I thought was a genius move. And I came away with a few little a-ha! moments about my WIP that will really help develop it.

Then lunch on our own, and my antics as I got lost in the north, south, and east directions before finally figuring out that I needed to go west to get to the grocery store. And my explorations of an industrial town set smack dab in the middle of Amish country. Rolling hills, red barns and cute white farmhourses, then a power plant and a paper factory. Very interesting place.

Then back to the conference for a conflict panel, which had to be one of the best classes I've ever had. Again, the classes are never about large neon sign secrets saying "Follow this and you will be published!!!!!!" but little epiphanies that allows you to salt in the memorable details. After this class, I really understand how to actually follow through with conflict and tension, rather than just creating one more dangerous situation after another. Really great class, and the speaker was really good. Tim Esaias teashes at Seton Hill, and I admit, it's kind of tempting to check into the MFA program there because of him.

Then a class on YA writing, with two realizations. One, I do really like YA, and it's what I truly want to pursue (not solely, but seriously). And two, a published author does not a good teacher make. And vice versa.

Then I went back to the room, and thinking about the stuff that Tim Esaias said about conflict, wrote what is probably one of my best scenes and probably will end up as part of the climax in my WIP. WAHOO!!! I'm really excited what today's strageties can help me do.

Well, actually, not straight back to the room. There might or might not have been a detor to the local (amazing!) mall to go buy a swimsuit so I could take advantage of my pool-side hotel room. But then, I admit nothing.

 Write Now:
What I'm listening to:the TV-- Criminal Minds reruns! Wahoo!
What I wnt most: my room service to get here. Hazelnut encrusted salmon with raspberry glaze. YUM!