I go to a number of writers conferences. Sometimes I go as an author conferee, but more often I attend as an editor from a publishing house. What frustrates me the most is when authors are afraid to show others their stories for fear of theft. During editor appointments I have even been told by authors they will not show me their story unless I contract it because I might steal it if there isn’t a contract. The level of fear both saddens and frustrates me.
Today we drove across the northern Cascades on our way from a family wedding to catch an airplane in Seattle heading for the Write To Publish Conference. We drove through an area recently devastated by a landslide. Lives had been lost and many homes destroyed. I had seen it on the news, but those pictures didn’t come close what I saw today. The emotional response as we drove was much stronger. One interesting thing I saw was new sprouts and leaves on stumps of trees which had been broken in the landslide. This sight actually brought feelings of hope.
I’m trying to get back on track today because last week I didn’t keep my commitment to you, my readers. I was so tired from the conference; I didn’t accomplish much during the past week. That being said, this week I’m have to get my act together because I leave again in a few days—first for a wedding in Washington State followed by teaching and taking pitches at the Write To Publish conference in Chicago.
In response to my post about the needing to rest before and during conferences, Jennifer Hallmark commented that she chose not to pitch at her first conference. This can be a good choice because it decreases stress and increases rest at conferences. However, for the purpose of getting published it can be important to pitch. So the question becomes should a writer pitch or should they not pitch and any given conference.
While I know there are conferences year around I am now in a season of conferences. Therefore, I decided to talk about some of the things attendees to conferences should be considering. I recently returned from the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs (April 24-27). In just over a week, I’ll be leaving for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park (May 14-17). Then I’ll be home for a couple weeks before the Write To Publish Conference in Chicago (June 4-7). After that, I have a break before the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference (July 30 – August 2).
I’m still thinking about what I learned from Erin Healey at the Peak Writing Conference. My editor’s mind is still struggling she said with which I had a mixed reaction. She said authors should not be too concerned with copy editing (punctuation, grammar, etc.) and to be more focused on things like characterization, plot, sequence – basically structure issues. She very briefly mentioned making sure the copy issues were addressed but didn’t elaborate.
I agree structure issues are the most important. Copy problems are easy fixes for the editor.
I’ve heard a number of people talk about blogging a book. In many ways it is a good idea. But there are a number of things an author has to think about if they plan on doing this.
Basically, blogging a book means taking a group of blogs an author wrote and putting them together into a book. Generally, but not always, more information is added. The book may or may not be promoted as a compilation of the authors writing.
If the book is self-published, there is no problem with doing this.
Since Monday is my day to blog as an editor, I decided to talk about something I’ve seen a lot of lately and which is frustrating me. When is it proper to use a dash or an ellipsis? What is the difference?
To make the answer more frustrating for me, I was recently at a presentation by a well-known, multi-published author who gave a partially wrong answer to this question. So here is what I know. Feel free to argue with me if you disagree.
A dash indicates a sudden or harsh interruption, especially in dialogue. An ellipsis indicates words left out of a quotation or a soft pause.
Saturday I attended the Peak Writing Conference presented by the Worship, Write, Witness chapter of ACFW. The presenter was Kristen Heitzmann speaking on the topic on Keys to Compelling Stories.
Two things happened at the conference which caught my attention.
First, I learned a simple definition of Deep POV. This is a subject which can be confusing. Kristen explained it as a continued thought from something that was said. It is not italicized nor is it put in quotes.
I’ve been dealing with a lot of jumbled thoughts today about where I am going and what I am doing. I guess it is because of the end of one year and the beginning of a new one.
Anyway, as I deal with all these jumbled thoughts, I’m remembering a success this week. I was at my critique group and was able to quickly identify several hidden redundancies. They are the kind that aren’t obvious because it is not repetition specifically, but are multiple phrases that mean the same thing said in different ways. It shows me I am improving my editing skills in ways which were a problem for me.