Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Three Easy Ways to Refresh Your Writing Today

1. Jump In to WriteOnCon

This free, two-day, on-line live writers conference starts this morning and runs through Thursday, featuring live forums for pitch sessions, queries, Q&As with agents, and critiques. Agents featured include Jessica Sinsheimer, Carlie Webber and Christina Hogrebe, Sara Megibow, Suzie Townsend, Jenny Bent, Kelly Sonnack, Ginger Clark, Holly Root, Alissa Eisner-Henkin, and Roseanne Wells, among many others.. Plus a slate of top-notch authors. The full schedule is here. The submission threads open 24 hours in advance of the live event, which means, basically, that you should be getting ready to submit right now if you want a pitch or query critique. Hint: the Middle Grade/Young Adult query critique opens at 10 a.m. this tomorrow morning. Click here to get started.

2. Find a Page of Dialogue in your WIP and Rewrite It

Taking your revisions a page/one technique at a time seems a lot less daunting, doesn't it? When your ms. is starting to weigh like an albatross, the best way to deal is to think small.

Find that page and ask yourself: Why are these people talking to each other? Instead of, say, walking away? Or coming to fisticuffs? Hint: Good dialogue often involves two or more people who want radically different things. They're pulling against each other, but they're attached, like a bad marriage. And just like a bad marriage, they're failing to "communicate effectively." They're lying a little bit, or changing the subject, or sniping, or being passive aggressive, or sometimes aggressive aggressive, or playing sweet and false. In fiction, life is a battle. Look at your page and figure out who's winning and losing, and why. Click here for agent/author Nathan Bransford's take on great dialogue.

3. Connect with a Writing Buddy

Been holed up like a woodchuck in December, clawing your magnum opus to shreds? It may be time get your snout out of the snowdrifts and connect to at least one likeminded soul. If you're sick of your flesh and blood frenemies, and they're just as tired of hearing you read aloud your 57th rewrite of page 277 anyway, hook up through Twitter or on the net. I've been expanding my Twitter base lately and I've already connected (and reconnected) with people I'm liking, if only because there's no chance they'll "drop by" at dinnertime or borrow my favorite sweater.

A good page for Florida writers who tweet and twitter is here. Among my finds further afield: Latina Y/A, M/G, picture book writer Meg Medina, whose haunting magic-realist novel for middle grade readers Milagros: Girl from Away was one of my favorite reads this year; and friendly (famous, award-winning) sci-fi author Kathleen Goonan, who told me she spends part of her year in Key West and even offered to meet me for coffee! (see the glowing Washington Post review of Ms. Goonan's latest book here.)

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