Saturday, April 20, 2013

PPWC - Day 3 (Saturday)

The first morning workshop was "The Four-Hour Short Story Writer" with DeAnna Knippling.  Among the things she talked about was how you need to use standard manuscript format (she recommended William Shun's site for this), the structure for a story, and the use of "try/fail" cycles in writing.  Try/fail cycles are where the protagonist tries to overcome the obstacle for the story but then fails.

Twist Phelan and her workshop, "How to Keep your Readers up at Night," was next up on my agenda.  This was a workshop on how to build suspense in a story.  One of her points was to stack the odds against the protagonist and some of the ways of doing this.  For example, give the protagonist a disability or put them in a situation that is outside of their skills.

My third workshop for the morning was "Peak Productivity."  I liked this one the best of the morning workshops because there were fewer people and because I really felt the information was useful to me.  The big take-away from this workshop was the importance of breaking a large project into daily sub-goals.  For example, I may be daunted by the task of writing 20,000 words, but I can handle writing 1,000 words for 20 days.

In the afternoon I went to a panel discussion: "How to Draft a Novel: Pantsers vs.Plotters" with Becky Clark, Pam McCutcheon, Cindi Madsen and Aaron Richey.  This was a very fun workshop to be at because of the banter between the panelists.  It was also interesting to see different takes on how to write a novel: planning things out ahead of time (plotters) vs. going with the story as it develops (pantsers).  I guess I'm in the pantsers (from "seat of your pants) camp since I don't usually create an outline until after the first draft.

Next up was "Pixels to Profit" with Brian Schwartz.  As with the talk of his that I attended on Friday, Brian had a lot of good information.  He is probably also a very good public speaker - perhaps the best at the conference.  There were a lot of good points in this talk but the big one for me was that authors should use direct publishing (self-publishing) instead of indirect publishing when dealing with the e-book world.  Another thing I learned about from this workshop was a way of doing on demand publishing:  Apparently, many larger online vendors actually use these guys behind the scenes.

Last workshop for the day was a free-for-all discussion about critique groups: "Talkin' in Rockrimmon Critique Group Mash-up."  There was some useful information there, like that there are some good writing exercises to be found on, but for some reason I did not get as much out of it as I did with some of the other workshops I went to.  YMMV.

Tomorrow I will post about the final day of the PPWC.

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