Thursday, April 18, 2013

PPWC - Day 1 (Thursday)

In my quest for better writing skills I have signed up for a writer's conference - specifically the Pike's Peak Writers Conference.  After the myriad workshops that I will attend I feel confident that I can increase my number of readers from 2 to 3.  Especially if I guilt trip my wife into reading my stuff twice and if I continue to count myself as "one reader."

At any rate, I went to two workshops today: "Pitch Perfect" with Chris Mandeville and Bonne Hagan and one titled "Lie Like You Mean It" with Stephen Grapham Jones.

"Pitch Perfect" was essentially about how to prepare for a pitch to an agent who would then help you get your work published.  As an author who feels that their first book should probably be free, I would have thought that Pitch Perfect would be less useful then "Lie Like You Mean It" but the reverse was true.

In the "Pitch Perfect" workshop we worked on loglines, summaries and vocabulary.  Loglines are short (30 words or less) descriptions of what your work is about, while summaries are more in-depth descriptions of loglines.

Here is my logline for the upcoming "Puppet: Solder" story:

An average guy and his alien, mind-controlling amoeba must save the world from an invasion of Foosball-playing lizardmen.  Using chicken nuggets.

A summary is a more in-depth description of the logline.  Here's mine for Soldier:

On a near-future Earth, Earth is still rebuilding from the failed invasion of the Puppeteers: a mind-controller, amoeba-like race of creatures that tried to take over humanity “for their own good.”  Suddenly, a race of aggressive, Foosball playing, chicken nugget eating lizards start muscling their way through dimensional portals all over the planet in yet another bid for world domination.  It’s up to Mike, an average guys, and his Puppeteer side kick, a blob who is “fed up with the way that human/Puppeteer contact was handled,” to repel the lizards…while Humanity still controls the world’s foosball championship; and the world chicken nugget supply is safe.

The other workshop: "Lie Like you Mean it" by Stephen Graham Jones did not resonate with me as much because the current project that I'm working on is so outlandish that credibility got sucked out the airlock roundabout page 2 and hasn't come back since.  Never the less, some points I came away with were:
  • Get the reader to identify with the prognostication
  • Making the story a discovery process lends credibility
  • Have a reversal/paradigm shift/whatever the changes the way the reader understands the facts of the story.
  • Include details of certain situations.
  • Use foreshadowing to get the "plant and bloom" effect.
  • Add a true scene, perhaps with the names changed, to the story to add credibility to the entire story.
I would recommend both workshops to other people.  The Pitch one was surprisingly more useful to me than the Lie... workshop.  YMMV.

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