Before I start, if you haven't attended a writing conference, find a way to do it. It is such an amazing experience, and you learn so much. It's worth the registration fee just to be around other serious writers and to be able to talk about writing with people who get it. If you're in FL or would like to come here :) the summer workshop is scheduled for June 4 & 5 at Disney.
Thursday night, there was a pre-conference book signing, which was when I got the books for my giveaway signed. If you haven't entered, GO ENTER!
I was going to go through day by day, but I think that will take too long. LOL. I'm just going to list the takeaway quotes (paraphrased) that stuck with me enough that I wrote them down. There is just no way to capture the spirit of a writing conference in words (haha). It's like inspiration and encouragement float in the air, and you breathe them in every moment. Anyway, here are the important notes I wrote down.
Richard Peck: I never wrote a word of fiction before I was 37 years old.
Kathleen Duey: Those amazing debut books (S. Meyer, J.K. Rowling) are a fluke. Deciding to do that is like deciding to be struck by lightning and working toward that.
Kathleen Duey: Don't ask what should happen next in your story. Ask yourself what your protagonist would do next.
Richard Peck (via Kathleen Duey): Take yourself out of your manuscript.
Kathleen Duey: Raise the climax by making more subtle what precedes it.
Kathleen Duey: Give yourself cues for your work: workspace, music, food/drink, smells, and change them if you are working on two projects to help move between projects.
Kathleen Duey: Anyone can be a great critiquer if you have them use the BCD method - mark in the ms where they are Bored, Confused, or Don't believe it.
Kathleen Duey: The only rule is there are no rules.
Kathleen Duey: You don't have to start with a bang. You have to start with a reason to turn the page.
Kathleen Duey: Talk to strangers. (when and where it is safe to do so)
Kathleen Duey: When you're having trouble with your character, sit down and type an interview. Not a set of questions, but a conversation, like you're talking to a child (your mc) you haven't met.
Kathleen Duey: When you have a great writing day, figure out why and do that again.
Kathleen Duey: Gag your inner parent.
Kathleen Duey: Don't let your characters choose between something easy and something hard (that's boring - give them a difficult choice).
Richard Peck: Humor is anger that went to finishing school.
Richard Peck: There never was a writer who was not a reader.
Jill Santapolo: Inject emotion organically with: actions, word choice and syntax, objective correlative (put emotion to an object - winter tree looks dead to someone facing hardship, etc. [explanation and example are mine]), and dialogue.
Alexandra Flinn: Write what you're on fire about.
Kathleen Duey: To write a good synopsis, don't name anyone but the MC. It's too easy to go on a tangent if you focus on anyone else.
Kathleen Duey: On where to start your story: It's like picking up a puppy. In front of the middle, but not too far.
Kathleen Duey: On revision: Before revising, sit down and recall your reason for writing the story - the spark. Write it down and post it somewhere. Revise to enhance that.
You may notice that most of those are from Kathleen Duey. Yes. She is absolutely amazing. I have never been more inspired by a person in my life. If you ever have a chance to hear her speak, DO IT. (Oh, and she's coming back to FL in June...just sayin').
So, those are the takeaways I wrote down. If I can figure out a way to coherently write down more of the experience, I will. I will also point you to some other blogs with wrap-ups, since different people may have honed in on different points. Here's one: Mindy Alyse Weiss.
I will try to post pictures this weekend, and I am expecting my turn with the ARC of Timekeeper's Moon by Joni Sensel, so look for my review of that.