Writing is Freaking Hard but Conferences are Freaking Fun!

The other day I went to a one-day writing conference. This one sponsored by the less than a year old United Authors Association (UAA.) This was their very first conference and those in charge did a fine and fabulous job! I was extremely impressed and loved every minute of it.

Also, it didn’t hurt that I’d brought my friend Jayne along. She’s just jumping into the writing adventure with her first attempt at Nano coming up this week. She saw the ads for this UAA conference and actually said to me, “Hey, let’s go!” I was thrilled!

We went to six presentations, all of them wonderful. But the one that left me feeling most concerned, to put it mildly, was Julie Daines‘ class on showing and not telling (or why writing is freaking hard!) This is obviously where I have the most trouble. She actually critiqued a chapter of mine a few months ago at UVW meeting and her comments have helped me a ton in my revising of late. So I wanted to go to her class to get it all solidified and to hear it all again.

Everything was great except for these two statements:

“Never name an emotion.”

“Only use two visceral actions per chapter.”

You see, I’m afraid I can’t do this! These two statements make me feel like this writing thing is impossible and not for me! And I totally GET what these statements are saying, but I just don’t know HOW to do it! I guess, it’s all about practice and I’m determined to discover the secret that is writing without telling AND without showing using visceral actions. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I will figure out the whole metaphor secret one day too.

Other classes I enjoyed:

John Brown‘s story structure presentation where we plotted out the points and parts of a story in a new way that made it so clear and easy to grasp.

Callie Stoker‘s thoughts on the differences between plotting and pantsing. And even if you pants, what sort of things does one need to know before writing? (She insisted that you need to know the end even if you’re pantsing and I was like.. really?) She listed out all the different ways you can approach plotting and there are many.

Jordan McCollum‘s class on POV and voice. I’m starting to worry that I have one voice and one voice only. Here’s hoping I can find some more for all the stories in my head.

Charlie Holmberg‘s presentation on world building. I don’t usually think I’m the sort that enjoys this, but the book I want to write for Nano coming up in a week requires some (a lot) of world building, so this class was a great kick start for all the things I need to think up. But it overwhelmed me and makes my head spin.

And finally, Ali Cross talked to us about fight scenes. I hope to have a few in this Nano book too. We’ll see if I learned anything from Ali, yes?

Anyway. Fun stuff are these conferences. I was glad one popped up this month because I’ve been having withdrawals. Can’t wait for the new year when they all seem to start happening again!


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