Skip to main content

2016 Ad Astra - Day Two (Morning)

Day two got off to a weird start. I had a fantastic shower. Indeed, I loved every minute of it. When it was finished, I peeled back the curtain to see water all over the bathroom floor. For some reason, my brain decided not to put the shower curtain into the tub before showering. My jeans (a.k.a. my only pair of pants) were on the bathroom floor! I frantically waved the hair dryer at them. It was hopeless. Due to time constraints on breakfast, I went down to eat half dressed nicely and half dressed in pajamas. On my way, I asked the guy at the desk in my hotel about the connected mall. He said it didn't open until noon. Disaster! After food, I talked to the guy at the other hotel's desk, explained my predicament, and he presented me with a little box of bounce and gave very loose instructions on where to find the laundry room. I roamed the basement halls with my little box of fabric softener and my too wet jeans. I debated entering the Associate's Only room but was sure I would be reprimanded and continued to wander in the bowels of the hotel. A staff member nearly ran into me and looked at me with incredulity when I explained my mission. He led me to a tiny unmarked room with two little machines and a chair. As I placed my jeans into the dryer, I felt relief wash over me, but it was not without challenge. For in that tiny room, there was little air exchange and the dryer was very hot. I had to prop open the door with my foot in order to remain conscious. At last, in triumph, I ran up the steps to my room to change and hurriedly pack the day's necessities. I was a touch late arriving at the first panel, but given the morning's hijinks, I felt OK about it.

In the "How to Outline and Plan Your Story" panel, we talked about pantsing being a good method for short stories and flash fiction, but longer works should have some sort of outline even if it doesn't go further than 4-5 scenes.

  1. Know everything possible about the protagonist and antagonist.

  2. Knowing the premise of the story, which will bring about the inciting incident and hint at the ending. The premise should tell you if you're writing a short or long work of fiction.

  3. Long pieces should be broken into the 3 Act Structure with minor climaxes before the major climax where the hero confronts the antagonist and the story resolves. Then overlay the hero's journey on top of that.

    1. Make character sheets with common words/phrases they say, appearance/clothing, back story, favourite things, etc

    2. Setting outline to immediately immerse the reader in the world like Mad Max




Recommended resources were:

  • Blake Snyder's - Save the Cat (beat sheet)

  • Donald Maass - Writing the Breakout Novel (workbook)

  • David Farland - The Kick in the Pants (editing passes)


Next, I attended a "Troubleshooting your Manuscript" workshop. As it was something I paid extra for, I'm only going to give some basic details. We talked about the opening scene being made of change, movement, conflict, suspense/unanswered questions, human activity/presence, setting, and narrative POV/camera view. Within that we talked about ways to go about it (sledgehammer vs introducing subtle details). We talked about how improper pacing and trivial dialogue lead to problems in the middle of the book. We talked about problems with character and dialogue tags. A good character example was Scarlet O'Hara because even though she is an awful person, many love her.

In the "Finding a Literary Agent" panel, I learned tips like trying a small handful and using Twitter to find out what kind of stories they are looking for. Query only one agent per agency as they often work together. Never write a query letter from the character's POV. Get references if they do offer to work for you. Money only flows toward the author. Resources recommended were:

  • Query Checker forum

  • Query Shark archives

  • Writer's Digest posts (examples of successful query letters)

  • #MSWL on Twitter


Next, I attended the inaugural panel "Welcome to Hellmaw". I took no notes save what specifically spoke to my own writing. Want to know more? Check out the Ed Greenwood Group's page.

The morning was capped off with another workshop, "DIY Publicity: Who to Contact and What to Say" where we learned about analytics and targeted queries for reviews. Recommended resources:

  • Alexa.com


Well, that was the morning. Stay tuned for the rest of Day Two later this week.

Ciao,
R~

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hanna "Semi Precious" Murphy

A legend in the roller derby community is gone. How and why, I do not know. What I do know is that many are reeling from the news, myself included. 
Hanna was known for big hits and a brilliant personality. I experienced her hits first hand as she sent me flying a number of times. Then she'd smile and make sure I wasn't hurt. 
I stumbled onto this clip on Youtube from 2012 and I think it shows Hanna as many knew her.
She was a force off the track too.
As a cofounder of the award-winning Top Shelf Distillers, she gave much to the surrounding Ottawa Valley community.  
Hanna was a relatively petite woman and it was she who taught me that I could be mighty despite my size. I wouldn't be the woman I am today if I hadn't had the pleasure and the privilege of sharing the track with her. 
I'm shocked. I'm sad. I'm upset I'll never see her or speak to her again. 
R.I.P. #10.

Rae-Rae

Change is in the Air

I've been making a lot of changes lately around my home and some of them might seem a little odd, but they're making me happy. One thing I've done is taken apart my dining table. I never eat in there or have people over to eat. It was just another horizontal surface that would collect things like receipts, odd screws from various projects, and countless piles of paper. I had been frustrated because of the clutter it encouraged, but also because I didn't have a space for my Yamaha keyboard. I had been trying to use my keyboard in the living room, but it felt too cluttered and it wasn't sitting at the right height. With it now in my dining room, I was able to relocate my storage bench, which happens to be the perfect height to sit at while playing my keyboard. I now have much more breathing room. There is still a lot of mess to handle here yet, but I'm making solid progress. A lot of people suggest the bedroom is the place to start when decluttering, but I haven&…

Feeling My Age - ROW80 2020 R1-4

I've reached the age where my body has decided to have issues. Not constantly, but frequently. Sprinting for a bus can leave me with an injured ankle simply from using it, not from actually twisting it in ways it shouldn't move, just a fairly normal activity. I guess I need to warmup and stretch before walking to the bus now. About a decade ago, I was given a guard for my teeth due to grinding. And for the next month, I need to sleep with wrist braces because my doctor thinks I'm developing carpal tunnel. Really, I'm surprised it hasn't happened before now given my level of computer use. My mom had it years ago and had to have surgery. From reading books of all things. Anyway, he thinks if I sleep with braces on that it may be enough to keep it at bay because the nerves will get 7-8 hours of rest. After 4 days and nights, the tingling has been reducing, so I'm hopeful.
"Your body is like an elastic." -Georges St. Pierre I recently stocked up on health…