Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Collected tidbits and Captain Tightpants

Yes, I did make it back from NJRW – I just haven’t had time to post until now.

The weekend was...an adventure to say the least. Fortunately, I had my usual awesome roommate, Jen Baum, so even when the fire alarms went off at 4:00 AM Saturday morning [and at 5:00...and at 6:00] and we found ourselves standing outside in our pajamas in the rain while crow-bar wielding firemen wandered among us, we were still having a great time.

I originally thought I would devise a series of posts about things I learned at conference, but considering the main thing I came home with was a renewed desire to write, write, WRITE – I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for blogging. So maybe I’ll just summarize the important takeaway points:

There are no absolutes in writing. I sat in a workshop where a well known, best selling author insisted to us that we should NEVER write a prologue and NEVER write an epilogue. I also sat in a workshop where a well-known best-selling author told us we should do whatever works for the story.

You have to make the time. I know this already, but it bears repeating because it’s very easy to lose sight of it. The published authors I heard from were all dedicated to their writing schedules. Without the drive to get things done, the money train never leaves the station.

Plain old promo doesn’t work. I don’t know how many piles of card-stock type book marks, printed press releases and book flats I saw that no one seemed to touch. If you want people to take your name home with them, give them a pen, a charm, a candle, a toy, a keychain, a pad of paper...basically any little object they might get some use out of. If you’re determined to go with a postcard, business card or run of the mill laminate book mark, at least attach it to a piece of candy. Chocolate gets attention. Cardboard does not.

Write the synopsis first. I know. This one hurts. I HATE synop...well. I don’t have to tell you. You know how I feel about synopses. They are vile, hateful, terrible, awful devices of torture that make me cringe in horror. Write them first. Get them out of the way, then the joy of typing ‘The End’ won’t be marred by the horror of having to sit down and write a book report about your own damn book. There should be a law.

Always check your ice bucket for holes. This one is self-explanatory.

If I think of anything else, I’ll post it. In the mean time, I’m off to work on edits for the sequel to SKIN.


Kristen Painter said...

Write the synopsis first? Only if you put a gun to my head. Or a big check.

Jen said...

I also learned to appreciate the awesome power of a jinx. (a negative jinx since our positive jinx didn't work)

Oh, and that an after dinner mint can keep you awake for about 5 minutes...

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Kristen, I hear you! I'm totally resistant to this idea, but considering how painful my synopses are, I'm ready to try anything. If they'd told me to write it standing on my head, I might give it a try if it would somehow make the process any easier. And if you've ever read one of my synopses, you know, they read like I did write them standing on my head.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Jen, maybe we can patent the caffine enhanced after dinner mint. At least we know what to bring with us next time.