This past weekend several of our authors attended the Mississippi Writer’s Guild 2014 conference and they wanted to share some of the things they learned from authors Melanie Dickerson, Jane Nickerson, Sandra Beasley & Terry Kennedy
Jane Nickerson opened the conference with her speech about the importance of accuracy in researching and writing. Jane writes historical fiction but we feel this information is just as valuable to the sci-fi writer as it is to the inspirational writer or the historical writer. Later in the evening, in a personal conversation, Jane made the point that even if you are making up almost all of your story (people, places and events), there has to be some element of truth to it or the reader will not engage with your characters – they won’t be drawn in to your world and the book will be boring to them.
Melanie Dickerson told a delightful story in her speech about an opportunity she was presented with to “Save the cat”. There is a book by the same name written by Blake Snyder and it tells us of the importance in making our characters likable! Melanie shared how adding just one scene in her book changed her hero from being brusque and unlikable to wonderful and lovable! What a wonderful tip. Not only does it show us that some things do not require a complete rewrite, it shows us that sometimes the problem is in what we don’t have rather than what we do!
Sandra Beasley shared humorous anecdotes and curious trivia about writing her memoir and how surreal an experience it was to quit her “job” and get serious about being a full-time writer. She brought to light the struggles and comedic internal debates writers have with themselves about writing, working and procrastination. She also shared some very valuable tips on everything from developing a thicker skin to how to introduce yourself and your work to people in general.
Terry Kennedy made some very good points about the way our world views online publications and the writers who work for them. He offered a peek into this world that I admit, I knew nothing about and after hearing about the difficulties and stresses associate with it, I’m not so sure I want to. He shared facts and figures that gave a clear overview of the industry and how it has changed over the years – and is still in fact changing, every day.
Overall, an educational and enjoyable experience!
Our recommendation to you all as writers, whether aspiring or published, is to attend as many writer’s conferences as possible. Even if you do nothing but pick up a few helpful tips, it is well worth the time. And every writer or agent or publishing professional that you meet will simply be a bonus. Whether you realize it or not, you will be making connections that may well carry you to your goals one day. Many writers will tell you that they met their agent at a conference, or they met their editor at a conference, or they were given valuable advice on how to edit their work and make it better from someone at a conference.
Bottom line – they are worth every minute and dollar.
God Bless and keep up the good work!
Now go write!