Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fish, Water and Writers

Hi all. I'm in preparations for an upcoming writers conference here in my area. It's hosted by the North Texas Christian Writers and they're bringing in a slew of authors to teach on different tracks in the writing world. Songwriting, non-fiction, and (my favorite) fiction will all be discussed. The conference emphasizes the craft of writing, versus the I'm-so-ready-to-make-a-sale-I-might-die end, which I respect. Focusing on honing craft first makes the quest for publication sooooo much better.

I'm presenting several talks -- one called "Nuts and Bolts for Rank Beginners" -- which reminds me of a traditional Texas A&M yell after a bad football call. Imagine an entire stadium (or, at least the loud half) chanting, "Nuts and bolts, nuts and bolts, we got ________!" But that's probably inappropriate in this forum, and not at all related to the actual session. The talk covers priorities, goal setting, approaching the marketplace, and publication.

Other presentations include "Exploding the Moment: Write Now!" where we'll do some hands-on writing exercises. I'm busting out freewriting prompts and a little gadget I like to call the Wheel of Fortune (a brainstorming technique.) Then there's "The Art of Rewriting" which is one of my favorites. We'll talk about the process of revisions -- that exquisitely painful yet wonderful love/hate/love rollercoaster. I'm also presenting on "Inspired Writing for a Mainstream Marketplace" which will be interesting, considering the audience. I've spoken to Christian groups before, but by main professional field is the literary or mainstream marketplace. I'm wondering if I'll be a bit fish out of watery, or if this group will catch my vision of writing towards an inclusive audience while remaining authentic to yourself and your worldview. Should prompt some discussion, at least.

As for me, I'm not interested in reading about perfect characters making perfect choices in a perfect life -- because that's not only unrealistic, but unbiblical. Case in point: David the anointed King seducing married Bathsheba. Peter cutting a guy's ear off for Jesus. Abraham the liar -- "No really, Sarah's my sister, yeah, yeah,that's right, my sister, not my wife, you can have her, just don't kill me!" Plus, the entire catalog of other misfits who helped carve the crazy path that is a life in faith.

So, given such precedence, I'm hoping the attendees of NTCWC won't mind that I write about broken people doing crooked things, whose common bond (like most of us) is the need for a second chance. In fact, I bet deep down, they might relate.

I'm off to prepare, but maybe you can help. If you wanted to be a writer, what sort of nuts and bolts question (nothing too silly to ask) would you want answered?


Blogger Kern said...

dduozntsThe question I have is this: Would you explain 'point of view' in a way that even an idiot such as myself can grasp the concept and master it? I understand it, but have difficulty applying to the page 100%.

Speaking of the Aggies and hardware, they got a GIANT fastener Saturday against Fresno St. FSU fumbled the ball into the end zone for a touchback, game is over, Aggies win. NO! The refs replay the down in one of the most bizarre calls I have ever seen. Game goes to 3OT, and A&M pulls it off. Great game even for a non Aggie. I always pull for the former SWC schools in a descending order, but I'll save that for another time. In the meantime, Texas Tech #1.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Travis Erwin said...

Ia gree with Kern. For beginners POV is a big hurdle, as is writing active rather that passive.

11:51 AM  
Blogger dee said...

"OOOOhh!! Ooohh!!" *hand up bouncing in chair* "Miss Coleman!?? Miss Coleman??"*metalic tapping of multiple lip piercings puncuting every word*
"Yes, Maizy?"
* pops gum and twists curl* "How do you write like totally realistic dialogue that sounds like real people talking 'stead of one of those staged deoderant commercials?"

6:17 PM  
Blogger dee said...

And for those of you who are curious, Maizy is still pulling that gum of her lip jewelry.....

6:20 PM  
Blogger desperate_writer said...

Oh, I love when I can root for "villains" and see moral conflicty in "heroes." Love it love it love it. Russell Crowe and hsi character in 3:10 to Yuma. PERFECT recent example. Perfect.

As for beginner question-- how do you determine the balance and timing of backstory in your manuscript?

6:44 PM  
Blogger TJ Wilson said...

Britta - "Inspired Writing for a Mainstream Marketplace" was my favorite session. And judging by the 20 or so attendees sitting cross-legged on the floor with every chair in the room taken, I'm thinking your vision was caught and received!

7:09 AM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

Hmmm...I might have to take these questions in a separate post. And Dee, I want you to add your two cents about dialogue...Maizy needs some serious help.

3:10 to Yuma is way high on my need-to-see list...I can't help but love a good western.

Which leads to another Western ever???

My vote for movie: Outlaw Josie Wales. For book: Lonesome Dove.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

TJ! You all were such a blast, and I so enjoyed getting to meet you. What a great conference, and so fun to make new friends.

Especially the kind of friends who don't mind sitting on the floor in a crowded session. Who knew???

11:44 AM  

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