Wrapped up my final sessions today for this weekend’s writers workshop. I swear, the alliteration in that previous sentence was unintentional. Or maybe the result of so much learning. I didn’t focus this year on a single area. Last year I did focus on sessions related to character development and story arc. I mixed it up this year.
I took one marketing type of course that gave hints on how to write good cover copy. That’s the advert an Author writes on their back cover for paperbacks, or inside jacket on hardcovers. A publisher would typically write this if an author has one, but indy writers have to do most things like this themselves. There is a convention to writing cover copy that I didn’t know about, although I actually followed the rules fairly well on my initial novel. I write my share of product announcements at work.
I took a course on writing subtext, which is another thing I believe I did well at just naturally, but then subtext does tend to write itself. The other classes were about character development and story structure. My most unique class, taught by Diana Gabaldon, was on white space, which is the absence of words. What to leave out. And also a bit on the aesthetic quality of positioning words and paragraphs on the page.
Overall, the conference was both interesting and fun. It’s cool to be with so many others doing the same thing as me. I’m struck by the large number of writers in their 70s and 80s. Writing is their hobby. This interests me, and I take the opportunity to talk with them, because writing is my retirement plan. It’s a really good hobby because books can require extensive research, which is good for an aging brain.
Another objective of this workshop was to motivate myself to get back into a regular writing routine. Time will tell but I’m optimistic. Diana Gabaldon told the story of how she makes time. Her three kids are grown now but she started writing when they were all under six years of age. She would wake up at midnight and write until 4am. She continues this practice today. I’m simply going to target the evenings between dinner and bedtime.